Women of Email

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Interested in writing for the Women of Email blog? Send your submission to editor@womenofemail.org.

  • 08 Mar 2021 7:00 AM | Kristin Bond (Administrator)

    March 8, 2021 marks International Women’s Day, and this year’s theme is ‘Choosing to Challenge.’ It is specifically about choosing to challenge ourselves — and others — to call out inequality — when we see it. This month on the Women of Email blog, we’ll be highlighting stories from our members of times they’ve challenged themselves and others to create a more inclusive world, whether in their own workplace or beyond.

    Confronting an industry challenge. I want to use this opportunity to reflect on the time I challenged something in our industry, and it led to the formation of Women of Email. Nearly five years ago, I attended and spoke at an email conference. I noticed that the list of speakers was incredibly imbalanced and featured mostly men. The organizer of the conference had later asked me to write an article for his newsletter/blog about the event, and I decided to write about gender imbalance on stage at this event and others. If women made up half of the email space (which we didn’t even know was true at the time, but now can confirm it is), why weren’t we represented that way on stage?

    My article caused a bit of a stir, you might say: it sparked a very heated discussion in an email community, with some people giving great advice and offering to mentor up-and-coming women speakers, and some people offering…well, very frustrating and misguided advice. But out of that frustration came something special: women on that email listserv started messaging each other separately, thanking each other for saying things they were too afraid to say in the large group, and offering solidarity and advice. The next day, Jen Capstraw emailed me, April Mullen, and Laura Atkins with the idea of starting our own email community, and Women of Email was born.

    So where are we now? I am so proud of the strides we’ve made in the email space with achieving gender equity on stage, but there is more to do. Because of all of the work WoE has done over the last five years through our speakers bureau, gender balance should be a given (and great news — it is in most spaces!). But we need diversity of all kinds onstage: gender, race, age, sexual orientation, experience levels, companies, and so much more. For people who are in a place of privilege (and I include myself in that category as a white, cis, straight, married, employed woman who has had countless opportunities for my voice to be heard), that means sometimes stepping aside and letting someone else speak, and using your privilege to help lift up others.

    Want to share a story about how you’ve challenged something in your career to be featured on this blog? Submit yours

    Here’s the original article I wrote back in 2016.


    Can We Talk About Gender Diversity at Email Conferences?

    [June 1, 2016] Last month, I attended two email conferences. In my nine years in the email industry, I’ve attended… a lot of events and conferences. Everywhere I’ve worked, my email teams have been a healthy mix of men and women. The industry seems pretty evenly balanced in terms of gender. And yet – conference and event speaker lists don’t seem so balanced.

    A few weeks ago, I attended the Email Innovations Summit in Las Vegas. It was a great conference, full of awesome content and excellent people. However, there was one panel, the “Email Vendor Shootout” that gave me pause: of the TEN speakers on the stage, only one of them, Justine Jordan, was a woman. Justine’s fantastic and I always love seeing her speak, but it made me wonder, where are all of the other women?

    From my understanding, the companies were asked to participate and to select who they wanted to represent them. It’s possible that women at these companies were asked to participate and declined. It just seemed odd to me that an industry that seems to be very balanced in terms of gender isn’t represented that way at conferences.

    This imbalance made me look at the rest of the schedule with a critical eye. And sure enough, all of the solo women speakers (myself included) were scheduled up against hot topic panels, with multiple industry “big names” that would be difficult to compete with for audience members, so our sessions were poorly attended in comparison. Most of the male solo speakers were “keynotes” and not scheduled up against other sessions at all. Of the 49 speakers scheduled for the conference, 33 were men and 16 were women.

    There was one all woman panel. Samantha Iodice, Karen Talavera, Jeanne Jennings, and Kath Pay led a great discussion about starting their own consultancies. It was fresh, useful content I had never seen at a conference, and all of the women speaking were extremely candid and very generous with advice. It was my favorite session of the entire conference. But that panel was scheduled up against another rock-star panel about email design, and wasn’t nearly as well attended as it should have been given the topic and speakers. The same thing happened for a lot of other women speakers.

    As I’m writing this – they just sent out the scores for the top speakers at this conference. In all three categories (Top 5 Speakers, Best Content, and Best Combined), three of the top five are women, and in two categories, all three of the top three are women. So, it’s certainly not a quality issue. Women are good at this.

    Since it’s not a matter of ability, and there’s no shortage of smart, talented women in the industry, it’s hard to pinpoint the exact cause of this. Like many other conferences, there was an open call for speaker submissions, and we ended up with a group of men and women who tend to speak at other conferences fairly regularly. I don’t know what the speaker submission pool looked like, so it’s entirely possible gender was fairly represented based on the submissions. But if that’s the case, then it begs the question – why aren’t more women submitting presentations? And how can we all fix this?

    I have a few ideas.

    Women: If you want to speak at a conference (especially if you haven’t before): Propose something! Speaking at conferences is fun, and a huge adrenaline rush. You usually get to go to the conference for free, and it’s a great resume addition. If you’ve never spoken at a conference before and want help with a proposal, email me.

    Men: If you’re asked to speak on a panel that’s all men, recommend a woman (or two) to speak on the panel as well. Or even better – go to www.speakerdiversity.com and join the movement of men pledging to ONLY speak on panels that have diversity.

    Companies: Encourage your women employees to speak at conferences! If your immediate reaction to that is “We don’t have a lot of women working here,” please think about what that really means for your business.

    Conference organizers: Take a step back and look at the overall diversity of your speaker pool. Is there a good mix of men and women? What about age? (Contrary to popular belief, a lot of millennials use email, and even send email for a living. Millennials have things to say too). What about ethnic and cultural diversity? A range of different points of view makes for better, fresher, more interesting content. And that’s what we all need.

    One of the best things about the email industry is the community around it. We have weird, difficult jobs that not a lot of people outside of our field understand. Let’s try to have our future events represent our awesome community, in every way possible.

  • 21 Dec 2020 5:45 PM | Ann Ehnert

    What are your customers showing you? If you’re unsure, take a step back and look at your patterns and behaviors when interacting with a brand, especially a brand that you admire.

    Consumers (including us!) are creatures of habit and naturally, will fall into a routine. And from there, we can start to look at our customers’ email behavior through a similar lens. As a result, we discover opportunities that exist outside of the email guardrails that we have set forth for our customers.

    As brands continue to lean even more into the digital space, specifically with email, the need for creating digital customer journeys in order to improve retention increases. There are a few tested methods with proven successes, and some not so successful (that’s another blog post), that I’m eager to share. My hope is you can take away a few ideas of how to develop a customer retention strategy and think outside your brand’s digital bounds.

    Don’t try to define a system based on assumptions. A few weeks ago, I asked a colleague how many workflows are too many. What is the cut-off point? Her reply was, why should there be a limit? True. And perhaps my question came from a place of overthinking the process and forgetting that we need to begin at step one.

    If this is your first time getting to know your customers, take the existing data, such as your products and what they are buying, and start there. Journeys and seemingly complex workflows don’t grow overnight. Take the time upfront to ask one question that you want to answer and go from there. For example, why are customers that receive a sales email not responding?

    Action Item: Create a document and start drafting a workflow that you are expecting your customer or visitor to take. Consider using a tool like draw.io

    . Then, from this existing, expected flow, think about the next step. Where is the customer going next? Why? And start drawing! Here is an example of a very basic workflow that you could instrument, but also by depicting the workflow, you have now made the process easier for stakeholders to understand as well.


    Let a customer go silent. If you have customers that stopped engaging in email, give them an opportunity to come back and engage through an automated re-engagement campaign. Throughout the campaign, encourage various actions, such as visiting a site, checking out social or if they are ultimately not email readers, letting them know they won’t be part of your future email campaigns.

    The customer is the hero in this story. Let them go away from email if needed and nurture them in other ways, such as in-app messaging, on-site messaging or social. And as your email list becomes more refined with users that are actively engaging in your email, overall deliverability will maintain, or in some cases, improve, as a result of releasing customers that have chosen another way to interact with your brand. And as you continue to grow your email engagement, continue to build up existing workflows by refining segmentation and personalization. Ask yourself more questions about engaging behaviors. Look for the opportunities.

    Action Item: Be engaged in the silence. Schedule an automated, rolling re-engagement campaign and make it part of your reporting. This gives your stakeholders greater understanding of how it fits into the entire picture. It becomes an integrated part of your overall flow.

    Continue to encourage your customers. Consistency is oftentimes queen, but what are you doing to bring customers back to the site, the app, the store and so on at least one more time during the week? Where is your disruptor?

    Is there a favored action happening in-store or on your site? Why is that and what are the building blocks to empower your customer to mirror the desired action and in turn, take the next step? I know, it’s a lot of questions, but staying curious and going back to the data will encourage your customers. 

    Action Item: In the existing customer workflow that you drew, pick one spot during that funnel and branch it out into two more flows. When you branch those out, identify the action the customer took and the next message you want them to see. For example, if you are a retailer and the customer received an upcoming sale announcement but didn’t convert, branch off this email and look at who opened the email and what next step they took. If it was to visit the site, how are you retargeting in your next email to them based on their browsing behavior? If they didn’t open the email, are they engaged in email or should they funnel into SMS?

    Here is an extension of what was depicted above if we were to expand it even further for the purchase funnel.


    Retention is a trust-building exercise. It’s part of the long game, but it first must be constructed in a way that is familiar with your existing customer. Start to understand actions, behaviors and routines through your existing email campaigns. And from this, you’ll be on your way to constructing, enhancing and further personalizing workflows for existing (and new) customers.
  • 02 Dec 2020 8:51 AM | Jennifer Cannon (Administrator)

    In January 2020, co-founder of Women of Email, April Mullen, and I presented a 60-minute webinar to discuss our top predictions in email for 2020.

    Below are our five predictions for email in 2020; what did we get right, and what did we miss?

    Hit: Compliance. Experimental and compliance elements are on the rise in 2020 as different nations passed laws against a number of non-compliant policies. The policies most notably include the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and Europe’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). Both policies support consumer privacy and set limitations on how marketers can use consumer data.

    Despite threats of hefty fines, only one-third of business websites were GDPR compliant as of September 2019. The same goes for CCPA; few businesses can afford the time and technology needed to audit their systems for compliance purposes. Compliance remains a topic that many prioritize outwardly yet have a difficult time creating and allocating already strained budgets for compliance.

    Miss: Brand Indicators for Messaging Identification (BIMI). This flashy standard can be extremely valuable in providing a sense of security — email recipients will be able to see your brand’s logo without even opening the email, confirming that the email is safe to open. Using BIMI should boost open rates, your email ROI and increase consumer trust.

    The image below indicates which Mailbox Providers currently support BIMI, as well as which providers are planning implementation in the near future and which have no plans to adopt the standard.

     

    While many brands expressed excitement around the initial adoption of the standard, implementing BIMI is not as simple as flipping a switch. In order for BIMI to work, other authentications must be in place in order for the logo to appear in the recipients’ inboxes.

    Considering I don’t often (or ever) see logos in my inboxes, email marketers are likely setting up the prerequisite authentications (including DMARC) that will enable them to launch BIMI sometime in 2021.

    Miss: Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). AMP for Email was one of the buzziest trends we heard email marketers talking about in 2019, and we’re still buzzing about it into late 2020.

    This dynamic approach to building interactive emails had creative marketers rethinking how they could engage with their subscribers — and how to drum up the resources to make their AMP for email experience as seamless as possible.

    For many email marketers, implementing AMP for Email continues to be a goal that remains on their email marketing roadmaps. And hopefully, email service providers and mailbox clients alike move towards content standardization.

    Hit: Customer experience. It’s no secret that many successful brands are constantly evolving the customer experiences they provide, but throughout 2020 we have seen more and more brands prioritize a strong push towards improving the digital experience as millions of consumers remain (mostly) shuttered in their homes around the world.

    Brands completely shifted — and improved— customer experience. A shift in the overall focus on driving unique customer experience stands out as one of the more accurate predictions we shared, albeit for reasons we couldn’t anticipate. But throughout the year, emails from certain brands have grown and matured personalization efforts, while it looks like others are sending the same static email to their entire database.

    Consistent themes throughout the year gave marketers opportunities to humanize brands in an entirely different light. Customer experience became more about driving home messaging expressing solidarity of the human experience and community support.

    Miss: Voice. When it comes to Voice, most marketers think of SEO — how to best optimize their web pages based on how consumers really speak and ask questions. In email marketing, it is critical to think of how your message will sound out loud to subscribers using voice functions to access their inboxes and consume content.

    A quick glance at my own inbox shows that it seems as though some brands — publishers in particular — optimize their emails for voice than brands in other sectors. There is most definitely room for growth here, and with consumers increasingly using voice features on their devices, marketers need to seriously consider how emojis and other characters sound out when read out loud by Siri or Alexa:

    So, what did we hit or miss? Having been on the consumer side of emails for most of 2020 — not personally involved in email production and not being able to experiment with email software hands-on — I find myself looking to my own inbox for brands that are implementing different tactics, analyzing different use cases that I’ve seen and been keeping on top of trends throughout this unusual year.

    “Looking back on our predictions, there’s no way we could have known just how bad 2020 would turn out to be with COVID-19 and the resulting pandemic,” said Mullen. “Having said that, our predictions on compliance and customer experience were spot on.

    “Marketers are continuing to put a strong emphasis on those two, especially as a lot of commerce and engagement moved online. Some things that I’m still bullish on, but will likely move to 2021 and beyond are around voice, AMP and BIMI. I’m not ready to give up on any of those just yet. 2020 was a hard year, so let’s see what happens when we have less distraction and pivoting with our email programs.”

    Overall, Mullen and I certainly touched upon major trends that email marketers are still talking about as we close out 2020. And, despite some major curve balls thrown at all of us this year, email marketers overall did an excellent job communicating with their customers throughout this strange, strange year.

    Did you have any predictions for this year — and how did your brand manage customer communications throughout 2020? If you want to share your story, shoot me (Jen Cannon) an email at editor@womenofemail.org and let’s connect further.

  • 01 Dec 2020 5:01 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It’s that day of the year when nonprofits like Women of Email ask you to open your hearts and your wallets to accelerate them into the new year. But this Giving Tuesday, Women of Email isn’t soliciting donations.

    Why? We’re in the thick of reorganizing from a 501(c)(3) nonprofit private foundation to a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity. It’s a tricky and unpredictable process, and it’s not in our best interest to accept sizable donations during this transition.

    The purpose of this redesignation is to enable us to accept larger donations in 2021 and beyond. Women of Email will become eligible for corporate matching gifts, as well as donations from companies with stringent donation policies. And bigger donations will enable us to do so much more for our 5,000+ awesome members.

    Since our founding, Women of Email has been a dues-free association. That means there are no barriers to membership—the folks who need us the most have full access to our community, programs, and events. While a dues-based model is the norm, and similar associations charge up to $400 per year for membership, Women of Email is committed to remaining free of charge to everyone who meets our membership criteria.

    While we take pride in our accessibility, running on a shoestring budget has created many limitations for us. Most significantly, we have been unable to hire employees or contract with an association management company to take on day-to-day operations of our nonprofit. We’ve accomplished much with our scrappy band of volunteers since our founding in 2016, but not nearly as much as we could with a fulltime team, which is our ultimate goal.

    We’re fortunate we have just enough money to keep us afloat until our redesignation is complete, thanks to the generous donations of our members and industry allies. Once our public charity status is secured, get ready for an exciting 2021! We will launch a Women of Email merch shop, build partnerships with the companies that best align with our mission, level up our member communications, and make meaningful improvements to existing programs.

    So this Giving Tuesday, we encourage you to share your generosity with other worthy nonprofits. We’re sitting tight until 2021.

    Happy sending,

    Jen Capstraw
    President & Co-Founder
    Women of Email


  • 27 Nov 2020 4:39 PM | Samantha Metzroth

    The world of sports has its milestone events that span the corners of the globe, from Wimbledon to the Super Bowl, the Tour de France and eSports featuring the League of Legends World Championship to the Overwatch World Cup.

    In a year that has reshaped the very nature of all that was and has been, the world’s largest sports gathering since March 2020, has been the State of Origin rugby league match held in Brisbane, Australia, with 52,500 fans cheering on a glorified version of gridiron (without the armour).

    So, what does a pandemic-defined 2020 mean for retail’s biggest week of the year? Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Thanksgiving traditionally see consumers flock to their favourite stores to take advantage of sales frenzies, with retailers staffing their stores to accommodate the throngs of people. 

    The retail space has changed in 2020, as brands accommodate a “from our store, now to your door” approach, while others have capitalised on established e-commerce models, to engage with consumers digitally. 

    Driving the traffic, be it in-store or online, are the email strategists, marketers, designers, coders and analysts, who are living their very own Wimbledon or Superbowl, in one of the busiest and craziest weeks of the year.

    Email has proven its worth as the leading digital channel with a $42 ROI for every dollar spent, in a year that has seen email traffic increase at an exponential rate, not only for retailers, but for all B2B and B2C industries needing to engage with their customers.

    It is difficult for email geeks to penetrate the noise of a post-election, pandemic-plagued inbox in 2020’s Black Friday Week, but it is achievable. Here’s how:

    1. Avoid trigger words like ‘unprecedented’. It’s November people! The precedent has been set and we’re still ploughing through it (if this doesn’t become 2020’s most-used word of the year, I’ll be surprised).

    2. Spam … don’t be that brand. Check your cadences and suppress other campaigns so your audiences get the most relevant and timely message for your campaign.  

    3. Value exchange – we all love a good discount! However, empathise – not everyone can afford to buy at the moment. Why not offer an extended promotional period instead?

    4. Be authentic to your brand. Don’t be what you’re not. Keep your messaging true to you. Have a theme, sure, but the codification of your design and copy should be a reflection of the relationship you’ve built with your customer.

    5. Be realistic – your analytics are going to be different from last year, as will be the gross profit on sales. 

    So next time you check your inbox, spare a thought for the athletes of the email game, but also the behind-the-scenes water runners, trainers, and coaches, that deliver the action of your favourite brands’ to your mobile or desktop.

  • 24 Nov 2020 7:27 AM | Jennifer Cannon (Administrator)

    As early as April 2020, Google reportedly blocked nearly 18 million phishing emails. Nearly four million coronavirus and COVID-19 emails containing harmful content have been delivered— with just over one million clicks on malicious URLs occurring in these emails. You, your coworkers, your families and friends are all susceptible to falling victim to email-related scams. As email marketers, we should feel obligated to play a key role in communicating the warning signals to our subscribers. 

    With individuals becoming increasingly more dependent on technology — including email — than ever before, it should come as no surprise that malicious emails are reaching inboxes at unprecedented rates. Parents (and even college students), constantly checking emails for updates on their school districts’ changing policies, are particularly susceptible to these attacks, according to TechRepublic. 

    Malicious content trends. Initially, phishing emails containing the name of the virus were identified by cybersecurity firms monitoring corporate email servers. Emails containing stock market information were also popular in the early days of the pandemic, and when unemployment numbers skyrocketed, malicious senders leveraged phishing tactics by emailing fake job opportunities. 

    In mid-October, one cybersecurity firm discovered bad actors were sending fake COVID-19 surveys to university staff. The emails contain a Word document that reportedly contained ransomware that allowed malicious senders to steal encrypted files from their victims in an extortion attempt. 

    Increasing spam tactics. As cybersecurity experts work with both email marketers and their recipients (subscribers), they create numerous ways to block spam from ever reaching the anticipated end-user. But while these experts grow smarter, so do their counterparts on the hacker-side. It can sometimes be difficult to tell who is truly one step ahead of these bad actors, and some of the biggest firms devote tens of millions of dollars to keep them out of their business systems.

    Ransomware, malware and phishing. These are likely the most popular types of email attacks that your subscribers are seeing. Ensuring your subscribers that they can be 100%  positive an email that says it is from you really is from your brand.

    The “why me?” factor. Many people and organizations struggle to grasp why a cyber attacker would want to target them or their business’s emails. The bad actors who are coordinating these types of events are likely not targeting you or your brand directly — they target as many inboxes as possible. Once an end-user clicks the malicious link, they’ve unknowingly let the bad guys into the system or downloaded malicious content that will allow them to carry out their attack. In other words, it’s nothing personal.

    It is terribly unfortunate that people are using scare tactics related to coronavirus and COVID-19. As email marketers, we must ensure we drive crystal-clear, well-aligned information campaigns to our stakeholders, subscribers and customers.

    As an email marketer, it is critical responsibility to be part of educating your colleagues (and let's face it, our families too!).

    Do you have an email marketing related story — COVID-related or not — feel free to reach out to me with your story ideas or to qualify as a contributor. 


  • 23 Nov 2020 3:01 PM | Hanna Fray

    There are an overwhelming number of email service providers (ESPs) out there to serve email marketers’ needs. Depending on the sophistication of your email program, list size, industry, budget, support needs and size of your team, you may find more success with certain ESPs over others. While several third-party organizations, such as G2 or Email Tool Tester, provide objective comparisons between ESPs, there are limited resources out there that provide up-to-date deliverability performance comparisons.

    As such, many email marketers take on the task of determining deliverability success through the use of trials or segmenting their mail streams to test other services before committing to switching ESPs.

    My goal is to help you on your comparison journey by sharing some of the biggest mistakes I see when email marketers compare deliverability performance between ESPs, and also share the key metrics that you should be looking for.

    Different factors influence open rates. When comparing deliverability performance between ESPs, a popular trend is comparing open rates exclusively to gauge overall deliverability. Despite the appearance of an apples-to-apples comparison, open rates can be deceptive for many reasons, including:

    Contact lists or segments. If open rates are being compared between two different lists or segments, there is no guarantee that the lists or segments are weighted with subscribers who are equally likely to open. If the emails are being sent to the same list or segment, you've eliminated that variable, but introduced others.

    Take, for example, subscriber fatigue — many recipients simply don't open every email single they receive. If a contact opened your email yesterday, and today's subject line is similar or identical, they may see no reason to open today's email. If the subject lines are different, then you've introduced the subject line and content as new variables which may have also influenced the test results.

    Difference in send times of campaigns. The day of the week — and time of the day — of the send can sometimes make a serious difference. There are countless articles out there touting which day of the week or time of day are best to maximize open rates, but realistically the best time to send an email depends on your list dynamic.

    If you are using the same recipients to test metrics at both ESPs, you can't exactly send them two identical emails back-to-back from different ESPs. You've once again introduced new variables by staggering the sends and sending on different days and times.

    Variances with Mailbox Provider/Spam filters. If you've been sending for a long time on ESP A, your emails create a recognizable pattern to providers like Gmail, Microsoft and Verizon that decide whether to bounce or filter the message. Your emails from ESP B are unknown to the inbox provider — is this really you, or a spammer impersonating you? Emails from ESP B can be expected to be treated differently by mailbox providers and/or B2B spam filters.

    End-user preferences such as personal safelist/blocklist. Recipient-level filters will also influence your open rates. A recipient can set up filters that send your emails from email address A/ESP A to a spot where they're sure to open and read them but this filter might not apply to emails from email address B/ ESP B. S of course ESP A will appear to perform better. Your recipients don't know you're switching ESPs yet and to look for your mail in an unexpected folder.

    IP and Domain Reputation. There may be differences in the IP reputation from each ESP that are completely temporary. For example, if you're on a brand new account with your ESP, it's a very common practice to be placed in an IP pool with other new senders. Simply put, ESPs have to protect the IP reputation in the interest of all existing customers. Therefore until you've sent a few emails and set a cadence for your sending behavior and volume, the ESP doesn’t know the quality of your emails. So you're typically not sending out of your ESP's best IP addresses until you have a few sends under your belt and they know that they can “trust you”. Differences in IP reputation between ESP A and ESP B might not reflect the actual IP reputation you'll experience once there's enough data about your sending practices to assign you to your final IP pool.

    Authentication differences. Authentication is also a factor if you've authenticated email at ESP A and not at ESP B. This once again introduces a feeling of ‘suspicion’ on the mailbox provider’s end that could lead to filtering or spam placement. If you have a DMARC policy that requires domain alignment for DMARC to ‘pass’, in order to deliver your emails, and you begin sending from a source that has neither SPF or DKIM aligned, you will find performance will be very low.

    Metric calculation differences. Not all ESPs measure open rates the same way. For example, if ESP A measures open rates as Opened / (Sent - Bounced), and ESP B measures open rates as Opened / Sent, this will further confuse the issue. Some ESPs show you a default open rate of "total opens" whereas other ESPs show you a default open rate of "unique opens". Make sure the number you're comparing between ESPs is actually being calculated the same way.

    Varying levels of support. Many ESPs don’t have a centralized deliverability team to handle deliverability concerns, and even if they do, those individuals are not available to you as a resource, without an additional fee. Certainly consider an ESP or plan tier that offers all types of support, including handling your deliverability or compliance concerns. You want to be sure you know the best way to get started with a new ESP in terms of warming up properly, testing, etc.

    Overall platform performance/experience. The best test is what you can actually achieve with a particular vendor. If ESP A has higher performance today according to your testing, but ESP B has better tooling and reporting features - it's much, much easier to improve your deliverability on ESP B so that it's on par or better than ESP A, than it is to get ESP A's development teams to create and deploy the features to match ESP B's offering.

    You might take a temporary hit on open rates, but having more meaningful ways to engage with your customers and understand them better will pay a return that far exceeds that initial bumpy investment. Al Iverson (Director of Deliverability at Salesforce) has an awesome outlook that you can find here. https://www.spamresource.com/2020/06/new-email-vendor-expect-your.html

    Hopefully, will serve as a helpful resource around properly comparing deliverability between platforms. Overall open rates are clearly not an ideal way to actually measure performance between ESPs, as it's almost impossible to control all of the variables to a sufficient degree to get meaningful results. Instead, I would recommend seed testing - vendors such as GlockApps, Kickbox, and others offer seed tests that provide an unbiased (as much as possible with email deliverability) snapshot into your performance. Even then, don't take seed test results as your universal truth and use those results as part of a holistic approach to improving your deliverability; you may simply have not built up enough reputation on a particular ESP to achieve better results.

    The moral of the story? Consider the full picture when evaluating email service providers.


  • 13 Nov 2020 9:48 AM | Jennifer Cannon (Administrator)

    As the initial days of the pandemic played out, many brands emailed subscribers with words of encouragement and support, offering solidarity. Many smart email marketers, however, included vital pieces of information — specifically how the subscribers could engage with their brands across their web experience.

    In the spirit of the upcoming holiday rush, let’s take a look at how email marketing can help brands — large and small — connect with consumers while mitigating the challenges of this past year. A Rakuten study found over 70% of holiday shoppers do not plan to decrease spend on 2020 holiday shopping (compared to 2019), according to the report. Your team can still have a successful holiday season — and end 2020 on a high note.

    It’s not surprising that with global stay-at-home orders, varying quarantine protocols, and city-wide lockdowns that millions of people turned to digital channels for social support and connections in addition to more of their own consumer needs than ever. And as people everywhere became increasingly relegated to their homes, businesses have suffered unfathomable losses. Many brick-and-mortar businesses and small businesses were forced to close or limit hours and make significant changes to their locations in order to open their doors to the public.

    Numerous, inconsistent regulations — amid serious health concerns — have millions of consumers turning to digital channels to purchase holiday gifts this year, and data suggests that email became more popular than it has in years.

    A recent Mailchimp study on coronavirus marketing trends indicates that email engagement metrics increased significantly in 2020; click and open rates were higher in March and April than they were throughout all of 2019.

    The March rise in open rates was three points (16%) over February, but as uncertainty and instability grew through March and April, email marketers maintained strong year-over-year open rates, with a nearly four-point rise for both months from 2019 to 2020 — an increase of over 20%.

    Alignment and flexibility. Your holiday strategy is likely well underway, but if there is one thing we should all take away from 2020, it’s that flexibility and success go hand-in-hand will be key to your email and e-commerce efforts in the coming weeks.

    Connect with your counterparts in other digital marketing roles to conceive methods of aligning your overall messaging, offers, ad spend, and email marketing efforts to deliver a consistent experience to the customer. Any data that you can collect and leverage to improve your email and ad segmentation should be shared with all platform managers to catch consumers’ attention across their web experience.

    Remind your subscribers of your offerings for delivering gifts to loved ones far away this season. With many families and friends planning to stay apart this holiday season, one should anticipate that online shopping and shipping gifts directly to the recipient will become a more common practice this season. If you represent a small business trying to maintain the support of your community, let your customers know about your different shipping options. If shipping is new to your business, send out an announcement to proudly let them know that you can help them deliver your locally-purchased gifts to friends and family wherever they may be,

    Incentivize customers to purchase online. To minimize foot traffic and maintain a healthy, safe work environment, test offers with a segment of your most loyal customers with an appropriate shipping offer to encourage them to make their purchase online this year. This will be an effective method to reach customers who may otherwise forgo shopping with your brand completely because they want to avoid entering a store during the busy season.

    While we all adjust to our “new normal,” life is still moving on. Communication with your customers is critical, and in these crazy times, your emails might be just the distraction they are looking for. And, with the right calls-to-action, messaging and sentiment, your brand’s email program could be a saving grace for your business in 2020.

    A personal note to the Women of Email community: I hope all of you are staying healthy and busy! It goes without saying, but 2020 was a year that no one asked for. Shortly after my initial post, I unexpectedly went on early maternity leave — ten weeks early! Our son is thriving and we are all doing well. I apologize for my unaddressed absence and look forward to continuing to serve as your editor-in-chief.

  • 01 Sep 2020 11:53 AM | Jennifer Cannon (Administrator)

    Welcome to the official Women of Email blog! This resource aims to elevate the voices of women in our community, offer helpful resources to email marketers and give our members an additional opportunity to connect in a meaningful way.

    My name Jennifer Cannon. For the majority of my career, I have worked for brands including three National Hockey League (NHL) teams and large technology companies that provide email marketing solutions. I have also spoken at events and written extensively on the topic of email for industry publications to educate marketers and leadership teams on the value of email marketing — and educating businesses on how to manage strategic email marketing programs that produce positive results.

    As the former senior editor of MarTech Today and Marketing Land, I heavily focused on covering the email industry and developed the first Periodic Table of Email Marketing and Deliverability. I hope to share my own learnings from my 15-year journey with email marketing to inspire our wonderful community while sharing important industry updates and analyses, and sparking conversations around our industry’s best practices.

    If you are interested in contributing to our community blog, please check out the pinned post in the Women of Email community explaining how to submit.  Tell us what strategies and tactics you have discovered, your good and bad experiences with email and how successful your program is (or isn’t). We look forward to hearing from you!

    In email marketing solidarity,

    Jennifer Cannon

  • 24 Aug 2020 12:00 PM | Jennifer Cannon (Administrator)

    When we launched Women of Email in June 2016, we sought to bring women in our industry more visibility and opportunities in our beloved niche. We were tired of looking around at conferences and not seeing many women on stage even though industry research showed that our industry has an equal gender makeup. We got to work and we’ve largely addressed the conference issue in our four years with nearly every industry conference having gender parity and normalizing more women on stage.

    We’ve done other work too. We’ve mentored countless women, helped members get the raises and promotions they deserve through transparency on compensation and job specs. We’ve connected members via meetups all over the world and now regularly online, and we’ve been a powerful connector to women that needed to feel like they weren’t alone in issues that uniquely affect us. We did this while growing our association organically to more than 4,700 members on six continents. We’ve made progress happen and we’re really proud of that. 

    As a volunteer-only non-profit association, this was built on the hard work of the board and volunteers treating this as their side hustle with passion and fulfillment as payment. We’re excited today to announce the launch of the Women of Email blog to provide another outlet for members to showcase their work and to give them more visibility. Words are powerful and we’re thrilled that our members will now be able to use words to help our industry become better and smarter. We’re not just going to focus on email as a craft either. 

    We plan to use this medium to highlight where there’s still work to be done in our industry to achieve equality and fairness--not just for women overall, but also intersectional feminism through minorities, disabled, LGBTQ and other marginalized groups. We are excited to be an even stronger voice in our industry through launching this blog. 

    We couldn’t do this without the help of a member that will be dedicating her time to helping make this initiative a success. We are proud to announce our new Editor-in-Chief, Jennifer Cannon. Jennifer is an industry veteran with stints at Microsoft, Boston Bruins, and Salesforce, and most recently worked as a senior editor at Marketing Land and Martech Today. Her dual expertise as both an email geek and editor means we will be bringing you rich content that will help shape the narrative in our industry. We are so grateful to Jennifer for joining the Women of Email team and helping us grow even more through content. We truly could not have done this without her.

    We still have work to do and we’re steadily working hard to bring more of our vision to life this year. We have some other exciting announcements coming soon and can’t wait to share all the good news here with you. 

    Cheers from the Women of Email Board,

    Jen Capstraw
    April Mullen
    Kristin Bond
    Laura Atkins
    Aysha Zouain
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