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What I’ve learnt after sending marketing emails for a month ​

Learning a new skill can be tough but so rewarding. Simone Loxton tell us what she learnt while putting her knowledge into play.

For those who work at a small agency – or any small business, to be fair – you might be the type of person who can do many different things: a little bit of this, a little bit of that. 

Critical and logical thinking with a strong desire to solve problems goes a long way. 

Recently, it was my turn to step up. We were asked to take over a colleague’s responsibilities while they took some time away. Nicknamed Postman Pat, their job was to build, manage and distribute all our marketing emails. 

Now, this was not the job they wanted. Their HTML knowledge meant they were able to build out emails using code, and so they were slotted into a position. 

I was able to step in because I had: 

  1. Written the copy for about 60% of the emails, so instead of writing them in Word, I could write them straight into the code; 
  2. A very basic understanding of HTML, so I knew how and where to copy/paste the code from  

various resources and where to insert the copy that I wanted to include; 

  1. client mailing list knowledge because I had worked with their CRM tool; 
  2. was a part of the approval process, so could make changes firsthand, and; 
  3. previously played around in the tool we use to send emails, so wasn’t going in totally blind – which always helps. 

With these simple skills, I dived right in. 

Here’s what I learnt: 

  1. Sending emails is more than just building and pressing send. 
  2. A critical eye to look over the layout, the colours, the links, and weird spacings is priceless 
  3. The customer’s journey and experience are important – is it clear, does the link make sense where it is, is this email really necessary? 
  4. Building in automations will save lives – and give you some great data. 
  5. Using the tool to its full advantage is what you are paying for. Explore its offerings, test how they add value to your business and build them into your process. 
  6. Audience lists are fun. Combining them, building them, and segmenting them. Connect and collect; divide and conquer. 
  7. “We don’t work in templates.” This is the sentence that broke me in 2022 and then made me stronger. It’s now a phrase I use to challenge everyone in our company. What does it mean? You need to adjust every email to the content and the experience you want your visitor to have. 
  8. It’s the little things that make the difference: alt text, preview messages, editing plain text – you never know what box your mail is about to be delivered to, so prep for all of them. 
  9. Html. It’s not a lesson, but a skill, and I’ve started writing it without copy/paste from various sources. That, to me, is a win. 

So why am I telling you this? For two reasons. The first is to share an insider’s perspective on what goes on behind the not-so-glamorous and extremely serious task of sending marketing emails. And the second is to encourage you to step up and learn a new skill. Don’t just complete an online course, but actually get your hands dirty and learn the ropes so you can gain the knowledge and insight you need to inform your strategy as well as your holistic understanding of the business you’re in. 

INN8 white
The client, part of South Africa’s largest financial institution, realised that it was not a platform destination of choice for the IFA market in SA. In an effort to address this valuable market and to futureproof their business they undertook to build a new investment platform. With this platform they needed to gain clarity and certainty on the appropriate brand and positioning to penetrate a highly competitive market and grow market share quickly.
Process 
We undertook a comprehensive global and local audit and research program, talking to current users of the brand as well as the target market IFAs. We looked at global trends and analysed behaviour across 3 markets. We spoke to competitors, partners and staff and then we made a recommendation. Created a new independent brand focused only on the IFA. Becoming the one thing an IFA really needed – a partner in their corner with no agenda other than to enable and facilitate their growth which would ultimately result in the platform growth.
Outcome
INN8 a fintech investment platform brand “Changing the way investments are done in South Africa by becoming “The Adviser’s Partner.” We created the brand and developed its narrative and we launched it into a very tough closed market. To this day, we’re still punching above our weight and getting above industry average engagement across all our touch points.