If Kevin George says email validation is vital, he's most likely right. Kevin knows a thing or two about email and how to use it to tell your story and convert. He runs the Marketing department at EmailMonks, one of the best email design and coding providers. We discovered him through the company’s blog, where Kevin writes in-depth articles helping email marketers become better at what they do.
We invited Kevin to do an interview with us and share some of his most interesting thoughts on email marketing best practices, including email validation.
What do you most appreciate in a marketing email?
How an email markets its offer matters to me. My inbox is always open for personalized emails. What most marketers mistake as personalization is addressing their subscribers by their first name, which is not the case at all. A personalized email is something that has elements such as images, email copy or even the discount offered customized as per my online behavior, purchase history or location.
What are your top 3 no-no's in an email blast?
- Never email blast
A potential lead ‘subscribes’ to your emailing list, in exchange for an incentive for learning more about your brand. This doesn’t mean they need to be exposed to irrelevant emails every time you hit ‘SEND’. So, always segment your email list into appropriate segments. Send emails to only those subscribers whose preferences match the message in your email.
- Untested email campaign
A glitched email = super-fast unsubscribes. There is nothing worse than receiving an email with my name incorrect, missing subject line or a misshapen email layout because the email was not responsive. TEST YOUR EMAILS USING ONLINE TOOLS, it will help you immensely in the longer run to maintain good relations.
- Unclear goals
What is your goal for sending this email? Sometimes, marketers tend to overlook the purpose of sending a specific email in pursuit of reaching out to their subscribers. This is mostly observed during holiday season and other festivals round the year. So, plan your email campaigns a month early at the least.
"Never buy a list"
When did you start working at EmailMonks?
I’ve been blessed to be a part of EmailMonks since its initial days since 2013. My fun job includes creating brand strategies based on the changing market dynamics. Also, it means writing articles, while learning & sharing insights with fellow marketers.
What's the most rewarding aspect of your job at “the monastery”?
The rewarding aspect is getting to analyze email templates being coded for our clients and understanding the different pain points of email marketers. This helps me greatly in writing my articles. At the same time, it supports me in creating strategies for campaign managers who conduct campaign management for our clients.
What would be your advice for a small business that's just starting to send out marketing emails?
- Never buy a list
- Never “email blast”
- Learn more about your subscribers
- Experiment with send timings to find one that suits you
- Learn to automate your email workflow
- Test all your emails before sending them
- Refer this article to learn more
How do you think email marketing is going to look like in five years? What potential innovation excites you the most?
The future of email marketing looks pretty strong. With email being a digital passport for accessing most online website, more and more email marketers are striving to create a good user experience within their emails.
From rendering point of view, Outlook, which has been the pain point of many email developers, has corrected most of it’s shortcoming in Windows Mail 10 and Outlook.com. Google is adopting AMP, which could mean that CSS3 based interactive emails will soon work in Gmail and Inbox. There may be a future where an email would render perfectly irrespective of the email client.
Design wise, brands are adopting newer trends to create visually appealing yet functional email designs.
Cinemagraphs, Keyframe based animations and CSS3 based animations are three potential innovations that has me, as a subscriber, brimming with excitement, when I receive one.
The ideal future for me is each subscriber is not a part of a list as they get a different email as per their journey, choices and online behavior.
"Email validation is like the training wheels when you are learning to ride a bicycle."
How important is email validation, in your opinion?
Email validation, for me, is like the training wheels when you are learning to ride a bicycle. Vital when you are starting out and greatly helpful if you wish to start over. Email validation prevents your emails from falling (into the SPAM folder) and helps maintain the balance in the longer run as long as you are following the best practices.
What's the biggest challenge, right now, in the email marketing industry and how can marketers overcome it?
Lack of utilization of touchpoints for email personalization is one of the challenges in the email marketing industry. Marketers lack the knowledge to process the data chunk, received from observing the interactions of a visitor on the website and using it in creating personalized content.
The best way to overcome this is to analyze which source brings most of your traffic flow, identify the touchpoints associated with the source, interpret the data collected and putting the data to use in personalization.
What was the one marketing email that convinced you to buy something?
Grammarly’s personalized email giving me an insight of my writing performance motivated me to buy their subscription.
What makes you want to unsubscribe?
- Poor content
- Repetitive offers
- Non-compatible emails / incorrect rendering
- Poor use of best practices
- ‘Re:’ in subject line from some brand who has mailed me the first time
- An email comprising of only one image and even cringeworthy when the image doesn’t have any alt-text
- Brands who I am no longer interested to be subscribed to
- Non-responsive emails
Most popular/best performing email font?
Any sans-serif font as email copy, most preferably Open Sans. Monserrat, Tahoma, Verdana, Helvetica, Arial Black.
What was the best subject line you've ever seen?
Humor works best on me. Any subject lines from Chubbies, Phrasee, or ReallyGoodEmails are the best ones for me.
What's the newsletter you always read?
The list is quite exhaustive, but I constantly follow:
- Email On Acid
- Campaign Monitor
- BuddhaDoodles - for personal motivation
I know you're a jazz lover, so if Miles Davis were alive and you could email him, what would you send him?
Sub: Listening to you still leaves me ‘Kind of Blue’
There is a great chance that this email might be lost in the flood of fan mails you may be receiving. If you are reading this, it is a great honor and THANK YOU. I just want to say that your songs can bring smiles on my face even on a grim ‘cloudy’ day.
I consider an LP of "Miles Davis at Fillmore" to be my prized possession till date. Thanks for the sunshine you bring.
Love & best wishes,
What's your favorite mantra?
Email is King!
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