The Only Constant Is Change

Although the faces for this column have changed, we’ll do our best to live up to the esteemed advice of our predecessor and colleague. We are Lynne Rolls and Jackie Gallogly, and we work with Kim at Inbox Interactive. Since this is our first article, we wanted to introduce ourselves to you. In future weeks, we will alternate so that we can speak to you about our individual experiences in greater depth.

I’ll start (this is Lynne writing): I am the account director at Inbox Interactive, and my goal in this column is to provide some pithy advice and answers about email marketing — straight from the trenches.

How many times have you heard that there’s no such thing as a stupid question? I think that sentiment really applies to email marketing. Because of the nature of this ever-changing world, it’s sometimes difficult to perceive fact from fiction. True from false. Or a stupid question from a good question. Hopefully, I’ll answer some of your questions in this column.

Most of my topics will be centered around project and account management — primarily from an agency perspective:

  • How do I find new business in the business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) categories?
  • What is the importance and relevance of a creative brief?
  • What’s the best strategy with regard to opt-in list research?
  • How does the creative process flow, and how do you improve it?
  • When is it relevant to use Flash, streaming video, and/or audio?

In any case, I can say that I’ve learned a lot in this space by asking just as many stupid questions as good ones. And there are many more questions to be answered!

Now my turn (this is Jackie writing): I am the marketing technology officer at Inbox Interactive. In my role, I encounter — and many times must have the answers to — the myriad questions that our clients and coworkers ask. Often, not having the answer is more rewarding, because it provides learning opportunities as we seek out the answers.

Just this week, I’ve encountered several issues that are being filed away as topics for articles in this column. For instance:

  • How many times have you struggled with how to present value to your email recipients? What are some of the best methods to do so?
  • Have you been accused of sending spam? If so, how have you (or your IT department) handled this? To whom do you turn to resolve the complaint? Do you email the customer back? (After all, they just complained about you sending them email!)
  • How do you justify the expense of investing in email marketing — either for your house list or on the acquisition side of your marketing efforts?
  • Are you accurately tracking results of your email campaigns? If not, how do you get started? If so, how do you improve your tracking?
  • Are you hitting roadblocks with the IT department or your operations teams? How do you break down the barriers and get moving?

I know — I have more questions than answers there. The answers, dear Grasshopper, will come if you stay tuned. For this week, let me just impart a small amount of insight that may help you. And, yes, it is straight from the trenches.

Get a Hotmail account. Then sign up for a few of those risqui opt-in lists you’ve been staying away from. Watch how your inbox fills up with spam. Then take special note of the words that are common in those subject lines. For instance: “guarantee,” “debt,” “free,” “sex,” “easy,” “discount,” “specials,” and “cash.” Just to name a few. These are words that people are beginning to filter out of the inbox and directly into their trashcans. Can you blame them?

If nothing else, having a Hotmail account gives you the ability (especially as a marketer) to opt in to all kinds of lists and see what is happening out there in the email world… while protecting your work and home email addresses — not to mention being able to access the Hotmail account from anywhere in the world.

That’s it for this week’s edition. Next week, you’ll be hearing from me, Jackie G., and from Lynne the following week. Until then!

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