(Before we get down to it, remember if you’re looking for a new role yourself to check out the Econsultancy jobs board.)
Econsultancy: Please describe your job: What do you do? And who do you report to?
MaryBeth McIvor: I am a Lifecycle Marketing Specialist at Storyblocks, a subscription based stock media site. I focus on our acquisition based emails which includes planning, testing, and executing weekly sends to our various segments as well as consistent maintenance of our automated trigger series. I report to the Senior Lifecycle Marketing Manager.
E: What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
MM: I have to be both strategic and creative in my role, which is why I love it. Email marketing has restrictions set in place by email service providers and by the nature of email itself. Being able to work within these restrictions and then create something new and exciting can be really gratifying.
E: Tell us about a typical working day…
MM: Each day can look very different although there are some overarching similarities. A typical Monday involves checking in and reporting on how the weekend’s email sends performed. Our weekend “batch and blast” sends can be great real estate for a/b tests whether it be offer testing or creative and copy tests. I’ll analyze the results from those tests and begin building and executing the next weekend’s campaigns.
Monitoring our automated trigger series performance is another big part of my day-to-day (That includes over 200 emails). It’s a slow drip of information but it’s another great place for getting answers on different audiences.
In September we went through a re-brand and so part of day-to-day is being involved in a team within my company to institute creative consistency across all channels, including email.
E: What do you love about your job? What sucks?
MM: I love how we have a creative culture that respects the importance of play. We are constantly reminded of why we are here; to serve creatives. Being able to laugh and execute projects in a playful setting allows for thinking outside of the box in a positive way.
Creativity and creative work can be a lot of things but at the root of it, it’s fun, which is very clear in our company. We even have an “Innovation Day” where everyone works on a project outside of their job description. Coworkers bring their dogs in on a regular basis, an occasional scooter will zoom by, and brainstorming sessions feel lively and open. Every job has its stressors, but Storyblocks makes it easy to remember to laugh.
Not much sucks about my job, but I think sometimes implementing a test can be frustrating when the results aren’t what you had hoped for or if there isn’t enough volume to get a decent read. But I think it’s also important to look at testing as a piece of the puzzle and not as the final word.
E: What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
MM: It depends on what the project is. I have conversion goals for all acquisition emails but it can be a lot grittier than that. It’s important to look at delivery rate, unique open rates, unique click rates, and of course conversion rate to name a few. My goal for one project might be to increase conversion rate, which would mean looking at the full picture, but especially the landing pages.
Knowing what the end goal is for each project is helpful in defining the KPI. I think the largest metric for measuring success is the question; is this benefiting our creative community?
E: What are your favorite tools to help you to get the job done?
MM: Litmus is great for testing out template designs for mobile, but I really love the website reallygoodemails.com for design and copy inspiration. Being able to scroll through and pull bits and pieces for future testing possibilities is always a lot of fun. I also find Toggl really helpful for tracking my use of time on different projects.
E: How did you get into email marketing, and where might you go from here?
MM: I was in the art gallery business prior to Storyblocks. I have a background in arts management and illustration so serving creatives has always been important to me. I found that when I was working at the gallery, the most gratifying part of my job was creating marketing materials and planning campaigns around new exhibitions.
Email marketing at Storyblocks has been great because I am still serving artists, while also being able to work with design elements within emails. I see myself continuing down this path of pairing design with data. With email, I get to see how the designs perform in real time and help the data inform future designs. Wherever I go from here I want to continue to serve creatives, while growing as a creative individual myself.
E: Which brands have you been impressed by recently when it comes to email or multichannel marketing?
MM: I love seeing what Care/of creates. It’s interesting to see how other subscription based companies market themselves, even though they are selling vitamins which has different needs than stock media. They’re aesthetic is clean and consistent and I find that their Instagram and email marketing tells a cohesive story.
I usually go through my personal inbox on my phone at night if I am having a hard time sleeping. They must’ve noticed I usually open my emails at night, because I received an email asking if I was having a hard time sleeping and they then proceeded to sell me vitamins that could help with that. Using my email behavior as segmentation for a product that I could actually benefit from really impressed me.
E: Do you have any advice for people who want to work in email marketing?
MM: If you’re interested in email marketing I think it’s important to have strong analytical and design skills. Even if you have someone else design your emails, it’s good to know what to ask for and what to test based upon results. You should optimize and constantly test everything.
To strengthen these skills, I have taken a SQL class and a storytelling with data course. There are tons of classes online with Lynda if this is something that interests you. With design, you could take online courses, as well as just researching what competitors and other companies are creating. Websites like “reallygoodemails” or even Pinterest and Behance have a ton of designs to browse through. The more you look at great design, the more trained your eye will be to create and ask for what you want.
Or you can check out Econsultancy’s Email Marketing Best Practice Guide.