Like last month’s Community Champion (Brian Thies), our superstar for the month of May is a regular contributor to our forums. While email isn’t his full-time job, his advice has helped countless other designers send beautiful email campaigns and made our community a better place to be. Between juggling a design role alongside his business, Dzyn Creative, we were lucky to get a few moments of his time, so lets welcome John Pirrie (JohnP) – he’s our latest Community Champion.
Hi John, you’ve been a distinct personality on our forums, both asking questions and providing advice on a daily basis. What drives you?
Helping people, solving problems and ultimately a passion for email design is what keeps me coming back. I’m always looking to expand my knowledge, and as I learn more, it feels good to share that insight. Much of what I’ve learned about email was sourced from Campaign Monitor, so the forums is the obvious place for me to frequent and contribute.
So, how important is email to your day-to-day work?
Last year, my email designs and templates were sent to over 3 million subscribers
I have a day job and most recently launched my new design studio, Dzyn Creative. For my day job, email is critical and central to our lead generation. Last year, my email designs and templates were sent to over 3 million subscribers. Comparatively, my business is much smaller, but in both roles, email makes up about a quarter of my workload. Email aside, I also do everything from 3D and motion graphics, all the way through to print, signage, web design and some basic web development.
When suggesting that clients try email marketing, what do you find to be the most persuasive selling points?
The ROI. In 2011, Email returned $40.46 per dollar spent according to the DMA. In the same study, social networking returned less than a third of that ($12.90). The study is a couple of years old now, but still, a surprising statistic that illustrates the power of email marketing.
Email and social networking work well together, but in comparison, I think email has such a higher ROI for two reasons. Social networking, as the name suggests, usually revolves around your customer’s social life. It is tough to be more interesting than your customer’s family, friends and army of old classmates, workmates and acquaintances. Secondly, unlike an overcrowded and forever ticking social network feed, email forces interaction. People don’t delete with their eyes closed, so assuming you can keep the customer subscribed, you’ve guaranteed yourself at worst, a one-line pitch in the subject line.
Finally, what’s your advice to other designers like yourself?
Design is about making the most of technical restrictions
Always work in code and test often. Take a look at a few of the Campaign Monitor templates, and start reverse-engineering until you have a solid base email template of your own to build your designs on. If you see something that looks unusual or unnecessary, particularly the non-semantic 90’s looking inline table code, chances are that there is a weird email quirk requiring things to be that way.
If you come from a web background, you’ll probably find the limitations of email design frustrating. Like with any medium, design is about making the most of technical restrictions. Eventually you’ll be experimenting and getting a kick out of stretching those limits.
Many thanks to John for taking on the honourable mantle of our second Community Champion for this year and best of luck with his business, Dzyn Creative. 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.