Plunging into Email: A Thoughtful Conversation with Maria

From Valencia to Düsseldorf, Maria Bazan is a Global Support Associate at Cheetah Digital. Cheetah Digital is a global marketing technology company that provides the software for email marketing, fidelity programs and corporate landing pages to the various marketing teams within companies internationally. Inboxroad was fortunate enough to interview Maria and delve into her experiences with email marketing.

Maria pursued journalism studies in her hometown, Valencia. This stemmed from her appreciation of and enjoyment in storytelling.

“I soon realized that I preferred corporate communications over the traditional media profession of journalism, and almost from the beginning I followed this path. Private companies are at the forefront of information technology and digital format. During my maternity leave, I completed my education studying for a bachelor’s degree in Advertising and public relations.

Shortly after arriving in Düsseldorf with my family, I started working as a Global Support Associate at Cheetah Digital, immersing myself in the depths of email marketing. Learning on the fly, I came to love this part of marketing and its impact on customers, both personal and massive at the same time.”

The Significance of Email Marketing

Email lies at the heart of many companies’ marketing operations. When touching upon its significance as a channel, Maria elaborated upon the importance of email marketing by affiliating it with data storage and analysis.

“Private companies, thanks to new technologies, are able to acquire, analyze and use large amounts of customer data. These same data, from the marketing point of view, help to analyze their customers in order to adjust their offers and products to their needs, their lifestyle, their environment,… in short, to decide what to offer, how, where, when, and in what way.

So, imagine email marketing as a tool that massively allows addressing an individualized marketing strategy for each of the customers of an organization, adapting each email to personal guidelines previously ordered and classified for use in a database. Most importantly, be able to track and sort the feedback out for further analysis.”

Even with its significance in mind, many marketers might underestimate the weightiness of email marketing. Maria believes that “this may be due to the wrong belief that the email format leaves little room for creativity for a marketing and advertising team. In the old times, email communication has been left for formalities like billing processes, customer information, checking, etc. However, technology is exploring new ways to bring creativity to email marketing, such as video embedding, interaction, or AMP.

On the other hand, the threat of hacking hangs over the succeeding expectations of a good marketing campaign. Email Service Providers are battling hackers on a daily basis with increasingly tougher measures that any organization sending mass emails must strictly adapt to.”

Getting Started with Email

If you are doubtful about immersing yourself in the depth of email marketing, or at least making a start with this strategy, Maria suggests that “cleaning your database” is a valuable first step to take.

“You need to make sure that your customer data is accurate and up to date. A good database is the cornerstone of email marketing. From there, you start working on structuring your customer data in such a way as to set up a specific profile, to which you can send a personalized message.

It is also important to think about what kind of response you want from the recipients of your email campaign, whether you want them to click on a link, access an offer, provide some data, etc.”

Understanding metrics in the email marketing sphere is also crucial to a successful email campaign. Maria refers to five that are particularly pertinent.

  • “The number of emails sent and delivered.
  • Opens: openings in relation to the number of mailings sent.
  • Number of unique clicks.
  • Reach on social networks, i.e., number of links, shares, etc.
  • Opt-outs, i.e. those recipients who unsubscribed from communications after opening the email.

 
I would say that those are the most important data, although to understand and evaluate the performance of a campaign another type of data can be reviewed, such as device, location, email heat map, Timeline, domain delivery, and others.”

Email Deliverability

With email deliverability being the core of Inboxroad’s service, we were interested in Maria’s view on the future of deliverability.

According to her, avoiding bad delivery and emails “ending up in the spam folder depends on a variety of factors. Broadly speaking, you need to get and preserve a good reputation as a sender. This reputation goes through factors such as controlling the volume of sending emails by hours and days, since large volumes of sending always raise suspicions of being a spammer. The content and code of the campaign begin to have an important impact on deliverability, creating an appropriate balance between images and text, avoiding the use of suspicious words of spam, etc.”

Maria predicts that “the use of certificates of identity and authenticity will surely increase in the coming years as DMARC or BIMI.” She also offers four recommendations for those interested in improving and maintaining their sender reputations.

  • “List Hygiene – It is one of the most important practices email marketers can engage in. Successful email marketing requires clean data! Maintain list hygiene by following these steps:
    • (a) Remove all hard bounces after each campaign or mailing
    • (b) Remove any inactive addresses that have not opened a message after 4-6 months
    • (c) Target only active users (Those who opened or clicked your mailings recently).
  • Double Opt-Ins Process – Create and maintain an opt-in process with an automated welcome email for your new subscribers.
  • Make it easy to unsubscribe – Always Implement an easy, accessible unsubscribe process to your mailings.
  • Engagement – engage with your users by targeting your audience with relevant and specific messages. This is a huge part of the sender’s reputation, the more your clients engage with you (Open, Clicks) the better your reputation will be.

 
It would be advisable to explore pages on deliverability.”

If you are interested in more information on email deliverability, Inboxroad’s blog page has various articles to help you meaningfully impact your delivery.

Email Marketing Expectations

Upon asking her about what expectations she has regarding future developments of email marketing, Maria conveys that “email marketing will continue to be a powerful tool to achieve the goals of the marketing strategy, especially because of the level of personalization of the message.”

“Its future lies in dynamic and increasingly complex personalized content, where the loss of impact is becoming smaller and smaller. On the other hand, we also have the tools for email marketing, which pursue the objective of bringing advanced email marketing closer and easier to marketers without the need for deep technical knowledge of code.”

We also asked Maria what she believes to be the most important skills for marketers to develop among the evolving email ecosystem.

“Let me make a quick summary of what I would demand from an email marketer:

  • Be constantly informed about email marketing trends. Learn quickly new techniques and the use of new tools.
  • Make sure you have a clean database and that you carry out good deliverability practices.
  • Be analytical with the results obtained in the campaigns and build the future of your marketing strategy based on that data and analysis. But don’t forget to also be analytical when creating an audience segment.
  • Integrate social media into your campaigns.
  • Automate as much as possible, not only campaigns but also data import and export processes and reports. Marketing tools allow a high level of automation that means efficiency at the end of the day for an email marketer.”

 


Maria Recommends:

“I recommend reading the Cheetah Digital Blog, and signing up to receive the Newsletter. Not only will you be up to date on the latest trends in email marketing but you will also learn about other marketing techniques for customer loyalty and engagement.”