Learn How To Avoid Costly Mistakes In Email Marketing With Jessica Pupillo

Jessica Pupillo is a Client Services Manager at Katey Charles Communications, where she started working as a copywriter in 2005.
Jessica holds a Bachelor degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and lives with her family in Ballwin, MO. She has more than 15 years of experience as a freelance writer, journalist, editorial director, and digital communications consultant, which helps her see each client’s big picture and ensure that their business strategy enhances it.
At Katey Charles Communications, Jessica delivers expert insight on email metrics, subscriber engagement and deliverability. She is the person to turn to when it comes to email strategy, automation and customer email journeys.
During her session at MDMC18, called “Inbox Bloopers: 10 Big Mistakes in Email Marketing”, Jessica will show how common email marketing mistakes can cause big problems for subscriber engagement and deliverability. She will explain how to avoid these costly inbox oversights using quality assurance checklists and automation reviews, and how to put review and audit processes into play at any company.
Here are Jessica’s answers to the pre-conference Q&A session.
Q.1. What are some big mistakes a business could make when it comes to digital marketing?
J.P.: When it comes to email marketing specifically, I see many businesses settle for “good enough.” Most email programs – even bad ones – turn a profit, so it’s tempting to become complacent. Don’t fall into this trap! The opportunity cost of complacency is high. Always work to improve. What new automation can you layer into your email marketing program? What can you work on optimizing through testing? If you’re not always asking what you can do better, you’re leaving revenue on the table.
Q.2. What is your favorite marketing book you have read lately? Or, what are a few of your favorite marketing blogs?
J.P.: I rarely miss a blog post from Litmus. It’s tough to beat their practical, evidence-based advice on email design and strategy. The Sherpa Blog from Marketing Sherpa is also on my short list as I appreciate their commitment to customer-first marketing and case studies. For email deliverability tips and news, I read Laura Atkin’s blog.
Q.3. Share your favorite digital marketing case study. What did you like most it?
J.P.: We recently helped a retail client transform their poorly performing welcome email series into one that achieves revenue at levels above industry benchmarks. We made a few key changes to the email campaign:
• We recoded their template to be mobile responsive, even in the Gmail app.
• We determined the client had deliverability trouble caused by poor bounce handling. As a result, we migrated them to an email service provider with exceptional deliverability tools and scrubbed their existing list to remove invalid email addresses.
• We revised the welcome strategy to place focus on the discount code, which is the incentive provided for signing up for marketing emails.
• We refreshed the creative to focus on the company’s unique value proposition and their most popular shopping categories.
After just a month running the new welcome series, revenue per email was up 567% over the previous year’s average. I particularly like this case study because it highlights how important the marriage between technology and creative skills is in email marketing. One without the other is a missed opportunity.
Q.4. According to you, what are the top three mistakes committed by organizations today in leveraging digital marketing?

  1. Many companies look to digital marketing campaigns to overcome operational problems. That’s a giant task for a marketer and one that’s nearly impossible to overcome. If IT doesn’t have data plumbed correctly or customers aren’t delighted with the products they’ve purchased, for example, marketers face an uphill battle. When organizations have cross-functional teams that collaborate and improve together, that’s when we see great success.
  2. Focusing on cool technology instead of customer relationships. People can tell when you’re not authentic. You have to get the customer relationships correct first, then use digital marketing technology to amplify your voice and deepen the relationship.
  3. Some email service providers, especially those catering to small and mid-sized businesses, would have you believe anyone can do email marketing. And while most people can get a bulk email distributed, they often get stuck with poor results when their engagement is low or they land in the spam folder. Companies are much better off hiring an employee or an agency with email expertise to help them maximize results.

Q.4. Which are your three favorite digital marketing tools?
J.P.: Being in email, I love a great email services platform. My favorites are Adestra and Cordial, though we’ve used many others. Adestra for its user-friendliness and easy automation, and Cordial for marketers who want to make the most of their data with triggered campaigns. I also rely on email testing and rendering tools, and Litmus is my current go-to. Finally, before reporting on split test results, I always hit up the statistical significance tester at AB Test Guide.
Q.5. If you were looking to hire a digital marketer, what are the top 3-5 skills you would be looking for in a candidate?
J.P.: When it comes to soft skills, I’m always on the lookout for smart, flexible, humble, creative problem-solvers. HTML and data management skills are important hard skills in this niche, too.