While the entire Campaign Monitor team puts a lot of time and care into providing great customer experiences, what shouldn’t be overlooked is how much our customers support each other – via Twitter, Facebook, blog comments and most visibly, in our forums. To acknowledge our ‘Community Champions’, we’ll be giving one of our star customers some well-earned recognition each month via a special Q&A. First in the spotlight: Brian Thies.
If you’ve ever tinkered with displaying background images in Outlook, conditional comments in email code, or even needed advice on rebranding the app, then its likely that Brian has lent you a hand. As a commanding presence in our forums and a tireless activist for email standards, Brian was a unanimous choice for our first Community Champion.
Hi Brian, you’re one of the originals on our forum, with a staggering 483 posts to your name. What motivates you to help so many other email marketers?
I think it’s a combination of the eagerness to solve problems, find better ways to execute the coding for a design, and overall help others overcome the adversities facing them when coding for compatibility. Since Campaign Monitor’s forums have always been the leader in presenting the most up to date information on email marketing, I felt it was the best venue to provide coding assistance, as well as learning tricks of the trade from other coders.
You’ve always been on the cutting edge of email coding. Where do you find your inspiration?
I’d say I’m inspired by the need to develop perfectly compatible emails, as well as never accepting “no” or “can’t be done” for an answer. It’s also exciting to get to work on such a variety of projects for an unlimited number of end users, and the challenge each design presents keeps things fresh and always evolving. It also helps that I love my job!
Tell us what your average workday is like.
Email marketing is definitely a full-time job.
I provide freelance email coding to marketing agencies who are looking for the service of an in-house email coder without the added expense. With deadlines in advertising being so critical, many companies have turned to me when needing same- to next-day reliable service that they normally wouldn’t receive from their internal teams or from other email coding services.
Email marketing is definitely a full-time job. I code & test anywhere from 5-10 emails per day, with each taking an average of 1-2 hours, so it’s easy to put in 8-12 hours a day depending on workload. Working with clients from around the world, projects can run into the night as well as weekends to ensure client expectations and deadlines are being met.
Briefly, what do you think goes into creating a great email marketing campaign?
I’d have to say the knowledge of the product, service or information being presented, the quality of the design itself, and the understanding of how the email will be built for desktop & mobile compatibility. If you’re missing any one of these, then you’re missing the opportunity to deliver top notch results.
Patience is also key, as a single email should never be viewed as the end-all for a good email campaign. Tweaking the layout, trying different font & image sizes, modifying colors, adjusting subject lines and deploying on various days/times – these are all things the pros use when trying to find the best possible combination to increase opens and click-through rates. Staying ahead of the game involves more than just the volume of emails you deploy. It’s all about trial and error.
What’s your advice to those getting started with the ‘black art’ of email?
Research, research, research. The number of resources available from Campaign Monitor provides plenty of details, examples, and just about everything you need to get started. Utilize the forums for answers you can’t find in the materials, and never be afraid to ask for assistance.
If the learning curve is too much and time is an issue, working with a dedicated email marketer or email coder can make your life much easier. Campaign Monitor provides a forum full of the top companies to utilize when looking for a professional email marketing service.
Many thanks again to Brian for being true Community Champion material – we’ve got a special thank you gift headed his way. If you’ve been proactive in helping others, we may get in touch with you in the months ahead. However, if you’d like to nominate a fellow customer, be sure to get in touch with details, including how they’ve helped you.