Hi Karen, how did you become so passionate about Email marketing?
I never intended to go into Marketing. My first love was writing. I wanted to be a journalist or author, so I pursued a degree in communication. I began my career working for a large corporate consumer data marketing provider, which later became part of today’s Experian. What was most fascinating to me was not the positions I specifically held then, but the application of 1) Data and 2) Technology to marketing. The art and science of digital, data-driven, direct response marketing plus its precision, accountability and cost-effectiveness compared to mass branding or PR piqued my attention.
Eventually, in 1999 I transitioned to a start-up – Yesmail, one of the first email marketing service providers – during the early, heady days of the .com era. I recognized email as a direct response on steroids, having all the advantages of direct mail with no cost or long execution time. My love for email marketing was born, and I’ve been loyal to it ever since. Despite naysayers over the past 20 years, email as a marketing channel is alive, well, growing, and becoming more predictive and intelligent thanks to AI-enabled tech. The fact that email marketing is continually evolving to deliver better customer experiences keeps me interested and passionate about it.
Around 17 years ago, I’d left my second start-up in three years. I was at a career crossroads, not sure of my next move. Up to that point, I’d worked on the provider side and didn’t want to stay there; if I took another full-time job, I wanted to work brand-side or for a big agency. But again, the job market wasn’t great – the first dotcom boom had busted – so I decided to hang out my shingle and try consulting. I simultaneously pursued brand-side jobs and consulting gigs, and self-employment won.
The business name Synchronicity Marketing dawned on me as the new millennium unfolded, and I noticed how quickly digital communication channels were emerging. First text (SMS), then YouTube, then social media, then smartphones became part of everyday life. Email was a logical connector to them all and a perfect bridge between online and offline traditional channels like catalogs, direct mail, and print. So as I thought more about my sweet spot, it became clear I could help companies create synchronicity between the proliferating mass of marketing channels and integrate them to develop a whole more significant than the sum of its parts, as well as synchronize data and technology for more insightful marketing.
Synchronicity Marketing is shaping the email marketing world by evangelizing the need for and importance of strategy before execution. Digital marketing has more channels than ever (and is still expanding!). Yet, email is a tried and true performer and producer of eCommerce, so having a solid strategy is critical to economic success.
As a thought leader in the field, I also serve as the volunteer Vice-Chair of the Board for the Email Experience Council (EEC). The EEC is the premier organization for email marketing professionals. Our mission is to be the voice of the email marketing community and the source of knowledge and expertise for new entrants and seasoned practitioners.
It’s business as usual and then some for us! Most of our work and marketing did not require in-person or face-to-face interaction, so we’ve been able to seamlessly pivot to meet the needs of our clients and audiences across the miles and virtually, online. We’re stepping up production and release of new content pieces to grow our own lead generation and planning a series of online learning events for 2021. Most of all, we’re poised to help our clients leverage digital channels more than ever to keep their sales flowing and customer relationships growing. We want them to not only survive, but thrive in the wake of physical store, location and event shutdowns.
Guard and set boundaries around your time! While most people pre-COVID did not work remotely, I’ve been doing so for almost 20 years so I’ve learned to draw clear boundaries around work time and personal time to minimize distractions and derailment. As long as remote work and social distancing remain in place, some seepage of personal life into work time is inevitable, but getting better at time and task management, specifically batching similar tasks together and blocking uninterrupted time for important work, is no longer optional, it’s essential.
We use Hootsuite for social media monitoring, interaction, and publishing. Mailchimp and DotDigital for email and marketing automation, Beacon and Canva for great graphic designs and content templates, Upplers for email or landing page design, and Google Analytics, plus so many more I can’t remember them all!
We’re a small company without the need for enterprise-level systems, but are familiar with them from working with diverse clients. I love recommending the many great vendors I’m familiar within the email and automated messaging space and am happy to make referrals.
One of the more daunting challenges was planning and setting up automated email message journeys to different international audiences across different countries. Not only can it be difficult to think through workflows and message series, plus suppressions, but to have to then create multiple versions of journeys by country/language, along with multiple creative versions of email messages (again, each uniquely in the language and designed to reflect the cultural nuances of different nations) was a massive undertaking.
1) Learn as much as you can, as fast as you can, for free. All major email marketing software platform providers (known as “ESPs”) continuously produce content like white papers, webinars, virtual events, blogs, etc. Start signing up for their offerings and soak it all in. Publishers like eMarketer, eConsultancy, and MarketingProfs are also excellent places to soak up free content.
2) After you’ve gotten your hands on everything you can learn for free, consider a membership to an industry group like the Email Experience Council where you’ll get even more education and exposure to a fantastic community, thought leaders, knowledge, and networking. EEC individual memberships are just a couple of hundred dollars a year, so even the self-employed will find that within reach and cost is a no-brainer for big companies.
3) Attend conferences and events if and where you can.
4) Most of all, join email marketing’s online communities (like Only Influencers), email-specific LinkedIn groups, Slack channels (the Email Geeks one is gold!), and Facebook groups (women should join Women of Email for free) but don’t stop at joining — PARTICIPATE in them! Don’t be shy; jump into the conversations happening in these communities. There’s so much to explore, and this is a very welcoming world.