It’s not very often I say this but it’s time for me to eat my words.
Back in 2010, Jarrang had been working in the email marketing industry for seven years. Slowly and steadily, we’d built up the company, our client base, and our expertise in creating and building award-winning email marketing campaigns. As the success and popularity of email marketing grew, the market responded and the number of options available to business exploded.
And it was during that time when the buzz surrounding an email marketing platform known as ‘MailChimp’ began in earnest. Initially, we viewed with an element of disdain. While I welcomed the ‘self-service’ element of marketers being able to create and send their own email campaigns, I didn’t have faith in the platform itself - either in its features, its robustness or its ability to deliver email marketing campaigns to the exacting professional standards we’d expect.
I was wrong. I wasn’t necessarily wrong in 2010. But I’ve been proven wrong now. Since then, MailChimp has grown into a serious, top-end email marketing platform and now offers an all-in-one marketing solution under one roof - giving its users the ability to manage social posts and ads, build landing pages and even create lookalike audiences.
The platform has improved, the software has improved, and, perhaps more importantly, it’s now predominantly used by Millennial marketers - a generation who grew up with technology at their fingertips who, on the whole, find it much easier to intuitively grasp how a platform works.
MailChimp haven’t been the only platform to up their game. From Campaign Monitor through to Hubspot and many more, there’s now a wealth of options out there for the consumer to choose from. It’s part of the reason we took the decision not to be wedded to one particular platform and to expand our remit to work with any business who wants to create better email marketing campaigns.
It’s also an area where we find we’re adding increasing value to our clients. Yes, the platforms have improved and it’s now easier than it’s ever been for any company to send email campaigns. This doesn’t mean everyone can do it well. I love a spot of DIY and know my way around a toolkit well enough to be able to do a half decent job at most things. But when it comes to the more complex things (like if the electrics go!) I’ll still call in an expert because I know they are going to do a better job than me and I’ll see a better end result.
The same is true with marketing. Whether it’s email, search, social, or even building a website, just because you can do it yourself, it doesn’t always mean you should. Sometimes it pays to go to the experts.
With email marketing, we support a number of clients who want the flexibility to be able to send campaigns themselves but who also want the guidance, safety net, and expertise of having us working alongside them. What we do always say to people who want to run their own email marketing campaigns is to make sure they have the basics right. These are:
Always start with strategy. Ask yourself what you want your email marketing campaigns to do and why you want to send them. Then have a realistic schedule in place where you know the different types of email you’re going to send and when you're going to send them. Know how you want to measure results and have an idea of the KPIs you want to hit.
Design & Content
Whether you’re building the emails yourself or using an agency to do it, they still have to look good, be on brand and position you in the right way. You also need to make sure you have great content. This will vary depending on the nature of your business but it has to engage your audience, give them value, and make them want to open the next email they send you.
Data has always been somewhat of a minefield and it’s even more so now after GDPR came into force last year. Put simply, you have to manage your data well. You have to know where it comes from, how it’s stored and how you use it. And if you want to take your email marketing to the next level, you have to learn how you can use data to drive the success of your email marketing strategy.
Sign Off & Deployment
Even if all of the above is in place, if you get this bit wrong, all your hard work has been for nothing. Making sure emails go out error free is no easy task. Here at Jarrang we have a 43-point sign off sheet to help us ensure every email campaign we send is as ‘bulletproof’ as we can make it - it’s one of the key reasons why we believe it’s still worth getting the experts in.
In closing, it never ceases to amaze me what an exciting place this industry I work in is. We’re lucky to have platforms like MailChimp around that have opened up the world of email marketing to countless different people. I believe we’re also lucky to have the email marketing experts on hand to guide, support and continue to push the boundaries.
Hopefully it goes without saying that if you ever need to call in the experts, we’re always here to help.