Thursday, September 11, 2014

does apple's new phone have us going crazy?

by kirk r gray

september 9, 2014, tim cook and friends showed off some shiny new well designed gadgets that have people drooling over and the lines have already started. but what's the impact for email marketers?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

make your emails look better in gmail - part 1

by kirk r gray

recently i wrote a series of posts that were aimed at helping marketers think about their email strategy. after that came a post detailing how 5 million businesses have migrated to google apps for their email and how that migration and presence is changing the way we construct emails. this is the beginning of a new series, intended to help marketers develop better looking emails for gmail, strategies for getting into the gmail inbox, gmail quirks, and how to better address the industry changes that are being influenced by gmail. for the first topic, we'll start simple - gmail image gaps.

Monday, August 11, 2014

your email sucks: pictures of cats make it all better

by kirk r gray

we've talked before about testing, the oops email, and what to do. but this one takes the cake - in a good way. it's the best mistakenly sent email i have seen - ever! and actually has me thinking about contingency plans for when you send a test email to a production list by accident.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

hack a hack for better adaptive designs

by kirk r gray

every email marketer knows that real estate on mobile devices is at a premium. we have limited space to successfully communicate the what and how of our messages. limited screen real estate means you can boil down your messages to the first rule of buying a home -- location, location, location... thinking about this and how i hacked a hack for better adaptive design resulted in this post. this is a great one for marketers who have a list full of outlook users to keep in their back-pockets.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

you're a b2b marketer, you don't need to worry about gmail - right?

by kirk r gray

wrong! recently i came across this statistic: "more than 5 million business have gone google"1. i started thinking that if “i am one of those ‘businesses’ that have gone google”, and use google apps for my email, then other businesses do too. so, why does that prompt me to blog about it? because businesses moving to google apps has a profound impact on the b2b email marketer's world.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

visiting the magic kingdom is like an email nurture series

by kirk r gray

i'm sure when you read that title you said, seriously? i said that too when i wrote it. but hear me out. a year ago i was asked to present about email marketing to my organization. this presentation kicked off a project of aligning our communication process across the organization. this was the first time i presented to other people outside of marketing so i had to introduce myself. to do that, i decided to talk about the similarities between my job and my passion.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

crafting your email marketing strategy - part 6: think outside the box

by kirk r gray

we've covered a lot of information in this series. i am sure that there will be more to come, but in this installment, we are going to think outside the box and look at an idea that will make your communications more human. this will help to customize the nurture experience even more for your readers while giving your sales team additional marketing material.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

gmail really isn't the enemy here

by kirk r gray

if you're like me, you've been following the blogs for the past year, and seen news on the latest way that google is going to put us out of business. you'll also have seen that a lot of email marketers (including myself) could be accused of being the "chicken little" of our industry...sounding the alarm every time gmail makes a change. but part of me thinks that we've been too hasty in making those posts. here is why i am changing my tune on gmail's changes, and how it's actually benefiting email marketers.

Friday, May 16, 2014

crafting your email marketing strategy - part 4: personalization

by kirk r gray

in the previous installments of this series, we've looked at nurture campaigns, what happens when a prospect converts or exhausts the funnel, and how adaptive design can be a part of your strategy. in this installment, we'll discuss fun cool stuff - personalization.

Monday, May 12, 2014

crafting your email marketing strategy - part 3: technology in strategy

by kirk r gray

in part one we talked about the nurture series, part two we talked about what happens when a prospect either becomes a customer or exhausts the content. in this post we'll discuss personalization but from a tech point of view. personalization isn't just "dear first name".

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

crafting your email marketing strategy - part 2: customer or exhausted content

by kirk r gray

in the first post of this series, we looked at the foundation of your program - the welcome or nurture series. this post addresses what to do next in two scenarios, your prospect has exhausted your funnel, or your prospect is now a member of the fold - the long term nurture progam.

Monday, May 5, 2014

crafting your email marketing strategy - part 1: nurture campaigns

by kirk r gray

this is going to be a multi-part blog entry dealing with how to attack your marketing strategy. this first post, will help guide your dive into the world of life-cycle or nurture campaigns and what you should send to your subscribers.

start with your subscribers
you should think of your subscribers as your customers, regardless of where they are in the pipeline/funnel/buying cycle. these are the individuals you want to ultimately purchase your product. individuals who haven't purchased yet - the lookers/lurkers or prospects - will probably make up the largest segment of your lists. that's okay, they are the foundation of your program.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

start-ups and email - you might want to check that again

by kirk r gray

last night i got an email from a start-up, the basic concept of the company and the product seem like a great one. but for me there was two things that stood, out that made the message lose all meaning for me. here's why...

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

your email sucks: when good design goes bad

by kirk r gray

it's been a while since i could post a "your email sucks" post. either people are reading my blog or people are getting better training on email design and coding. in the interest of my own vanity, i'm going with people are reading my blog.

this week though i got one that is just all kinds of wrong...

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

my choice of technology is impacting more than i thought

by kirk r gray

i would classify myself as a tech-nerd... there i said it...and the journey to this conclusion starts with the acceptance of this reality.

as i was walkng to breakfast this morning brainstorming for this blog post i had this aha moment... i'm a tech-nerd. but not just being able to happily say this but to look at my tech purchases and how they influence the other purchases in my life. and as much as i hate to admit it, i'm becoming a slave to my technology.

here's why i say that...

Saturday, April 12, 2014

speaking to your biggest segment

by kirk r gray

this past week i attended the marketo summit in san francisco. more than it being a visit to my second favorite city in the world (walt disney world being my first), it was a chance to finally hear a marketing-hero speak on a topic that many of us as marketers sometimes forget. and that's how to speak to your largest segment - humans.

the speaker was dj waldow. if you haven't heard of him, you're missing out. i started following him a few years ago, before he went to marketo. through his blog and tweets he offers up a lot of advice that can easily be tried in your email efforts. this time his presentation was centered around a central theme and quote:
"I don’t care what language you speak, who your brand is or what message you’re sending, we all need to speak more human.”

Saturday, March 29, 2014

what's up with all the gmail changes?

by kirk r gray

google has been busy introducing a whole bunch of inbox enhancements over the past couple of months. when i first got wind of all the changes, i thought to myself - seriously google, why are you making my professional life that much more difficult? two glass!

i can hear you now, either spit-takes or saying to yourself, "how does the inbox enhancements work for google glass?". let me explain...

Friday, March 21, 2014

is your a/b testing flawed?

we all do it, we all get varying degrees of success with it... that's right i'm talking about a/b testing, but in a/b testing are we getting false positives and negatives or constructing your tests for the desired income?
we all think about what to test - subject line, cta's, colors, creative, and so forth...but here are some things to consider when you test that could have an impact on the success or failure of your test...

Thursday, February 20, 2014

fresh blood

the last three weeks have been a whirlwind...

a respected colleague gave notice, and a new co-worker started on the same day. needless to say, i've been busy with training my co-worker and in learning as much as i can from the colleague who is leaving - and dealing with the thoughts and drama (internal, external, real, and made-up) of my colleague's departure. all in all let's say it's crazy in the office right now...

but with change comes opportunity
training my co-worker is awesome. she is full of new ideas, fresh perspective, and well frankly it is like christmas in our cubes...each day she tells me something new she has found in our prospect management tool, and even though she has as much ability and knowledge as I do, she listens, makes notes, and counters with arguments and thoughts - or even commiserates with me about challenges we've seen in our years of doing this.

i think eventually we'll have tacky matching drag queen rings that we'll touch together, and ala-wonder twins say "spammers unit, shape of a rolled eyes....shape of 'you've got to be kidding me...' we talk about strategy, and the biggest thing is data management...this i think is the bane of every marketers life simply because:

  1. we know what we want, data wise
  2. we know how to get it
  3. we know how to manage it (my internal dialogue for data management is 'crap in, crap out')
  4. we know how to control it
  5. we know how to report it
but as marketers in an IT controlled business, we know we don't control data. it is hard to implement work-smarter-not-harder strategies when it appears that IT is more concerned with controls (and frankly my argument really is their job security) than the bottom line - happy customers mean easier conversion, easier conversion means more revenue, more revenue means a bigger paycheck (or so the cycle would predict).

but all in all with those challenges, we keep chugging along and work toward the goal of getting people through the lead funnel and converting them from prospect to customer. the new ideas in a time of change is good because it re-centers me on the work and the goals i want to accomplish.

getting new staff all ramped up is easy though, especially when they know as much as they do, and it allows me to tackle larger projects - like branding and voice for our emails and to develop out suitable templates for all the major players here.

so the moral of this post is to look at all the change that may get thrown at us as not challenges, but opportunities to excel and finish tasks that have been on the back-burner for a while. that sense of completion really does take away from the feeling of drastic change.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

follow-up: gmail isn't doing us any favors these days

i've been thinking about this topic again... cause it is really bothering me.

gmail clipping messages, at first i thought this was based on the tags that we as marketers use - some email coders are just pulled from the web-dev team in our organizations, so they use common tags like '<class="header">' and '<class="footer">'. this we've been told for a while is a no-no, and actually one i agree with, gmail and other web-based email clients strip out the header and footers of our messages to avoid any display issues with their own headers and footers and that makes sense.

message clipping could have bigger implications for us as marketers, as i discussed here. if you view your messages in the gmail app on android, there is no way to display the clipped portion of your email, but this isn't true on the web-based gmail interface. this has been a known bug in the gmail system since at least 2012 - did anyone else miss that memo, i did - and i use the gmail app on my htc one.

Friday, February 14, 2014

the questions we're asked as email marketers

this week, i was asked an interesting question...what are two emerging trends in email marketing for 2014? it's not an easy to question to answer, but here's what I came up with...
  1. adaptive design for emails 
  2. content being king
but kirk, these aren't so much trends as they are the current mantras and blog topic that we are all reading on a daily basis...they have been drilled into us for the past couple of years. i know that, here's how I defend these two choices...

Saturday, January 25, 2014

time to clean up your email marketing house

the holidays are finally over, we're all tied to our desks for the next few weeks without a holiday, so now is the time to look at your email marketing efforts and put your house in order. in addition to planning out the next quarter, six months or year, we should also look at what we've done in the past and how to improve on those results.

here's what I mean

Saturday, January 11, 2014

your email sucks: open pixels

how many of us give any thought to where we place the open pixels in our emails? probably not many of us because we live in the world of esp's and more than likely it's done on the back-end.

but I think we should. if you hand code your emails, or even build out your own templates, then this post is for you...if you don't do those things, this is probably a conversation you want to have with your designers.

i started thinking about this for a couple of reasons. the first is in conjunction with our own going communications audit at work, I've been looking at people's emails, in most cases the code is horrendous. i've seen code that would make a two-year old cry, (1) open pixels missing, (2) open pixels at the bottom of long emails, (3) open pixels in the header tag, and (4) the open pixel placed outside of the HTML tag. the second reason i thought about this is because so many people rely on open rates to gauge the success of a why not set yourself up for the "most" success possible?

since I've worked with home grown and esp's i think about ways to improve them... and measurement is always part of those thoughts. let's dig deeper and try to figure this out, and why i'm blogging about it in the first place...