In our series, Interview with an Email Expert, we chat with leaders in the email marketing space about their background, favorite email campaigns, and more.
In this edition of Interview with an Email Expert, we chatted with Daniel Banks, Digital Marketing Analyst at Fan Interactive.
What was your path to email?
I started my career working in an NBA team web department 15 years ago when digital marketing was still relatively new. Back then, a small department was responsible for the team website and email marketing. I began realizing the power of the email newsletter and I evolved right along with the industry.
After the NBA, I joined a global musical instrument brand and helped design and deploy their email marketing campaigns. I am now part of a team of email experts at Fan Interactive Marketing working with our sports and entertainment clients to develop and deploy their email marketing strategy.
Why do you believe in email?
I gravitated to email because it was a creative challenge to craft a message that would be effective in the inbox. Whether we’re selling tickets or guitars, the approach is the same – the deliver on the promise that opening your email will bring value to the subscriber.
I also like that email is somewhat humbling. We are sending our message to a usually crowded inbox and our subscribers choose if and when they will engage with us. That makes for quite a challenge but the rewards are worth it.
What’s the most innovative thing happening in email right now?
The ability to deliver relevant messages at any point in time is the most innovative development in the industry. We can send a message that is not only dynamic based on a customer’s profile, but also dynamic based on where and when they opened. That is huge help in delivering on the promise to bring value to the subscriber.
As a Digital Marketing Analyst at Fan Interactive, what are the most common email challenges you’ve seen recently? Do you have any tips for overcoming these challenges?
The most common email challenge is knowing your audience. Emails fall flat when the message isn’t relevant to your target audience. Without proper testing and reporting, you cannot expect to improve. One way to know your audience is to run regular A/B tests to test subject lines, content or send times and have a theory for each time you run a test – this will help you get smarter with each test.
What’s your #1 email marketing tip?
Be considerate. And that doesn’t just mean don’t spam your list. Consider the relevancy and frequency of your messaging. Consider how your messages appear on different devices. And most importantly: consider how your brand is being represented in the customer’s inbox.
What brands are sending the best emails? Name one of the most delightful/surprising emails you’ve seen recently.
As a big movie buff, I appreciate how Netflix uses email to let me know simply that something new that I may like is new to their streaming service. No big sales pitch, just an image with a link to watch or play the trailer for more information. They’ve been consistent with this format so I know when I get an email from Netflix it will be something I care about and something I can quickly scan to get the information.
Another brand that is excelling is Major League Soccer. They send a weekly “This Week in MLS” newsletter to subscribers that changes the content based on your favorite MLS club. The MLS content team creates a lot of videos and stories each week and the newsletter is able to promote more of their work by segmenting the content to different audiences.
Fans of Seattle Sounders FC can get a completely different experience from fans of Orlando City SC because the newsletter is dynamically populating the template to give subscribers the information most relevant to them.