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Who to follow: Alex Ilhan

Who to follow: Alex Ilhan

Who to follow: Alex Ilhan  (@omgitsonlyalex)

Alex Ilhan is the Senior Email Developer at Email on Acid, an extremely useful suite of email development, testing and optimisation tools. A five-year veteran of the email marketing field, Alex will be celebrating his first anniversary with Email on Acid this February.

Like most email marketing folks, Alex found himself working in email completely by accident, when he applied for a simple Junior HTML developer role not realising that it was an email development job. In spite of the misunderstanding, Alex says that he quickly fell in love with email and the awesome community behind it, which is why he has become such a strong social media advocate for the platform.

Alex can be found on LinkedIn or Twitter, where he can be seen talking shop on the regular. Also, he apparently listens to Ron Pope. *** Although, he claims this is entirely accidental, but isn’t that what all Ron Pope fans probably say in public? ***

So now that we know he can run a Twitter account, let’s see what else he has to say…

An interview with Alex Ilhan

What is Email on Acid? How does it make life better for companies and email marketers?

Our goal at Email on Acid is to help remove sender anxiety from email marketers. Through our suite of tools, we help you preview your emails in all the popular inboxes enabling you to send with confidence every time.

Are there really marketing emails in this day and age which are not responsive on some platforms? What happens when someone sends out a non-responsive email?

D’ya know, you wouldn’t believe the number of people who are still sending non-responsive emails! People who send non-response emails are sorta like people who pick their noses on trains. They think no-one will notice and they’ll get away with it but, someone does see. Don’t be the person picking their nose on the train. All it does is hurt brand reputation and builds a habit with subscribers of not expecting nice emails on their devices.

How do poorly built, non-responsive emails affect the industry as a whole? Do they help those sending quality emails stand out from the crowd, or do they make users at large less likely to engage with marketing emails at all?

I like to think a few rotten eggs don’t spoil it for the rest of us but, I do believe that non-responsive emails negatively affect the industry as a whole. Every time someone sends a non-responsive email, they put up a barrier to engagement for that subscriber. Either by forcing them to pinch/zoom or to read the email on another platform. Obviously this doesn’t apply to everyone, if you don’t have high readership on mobile there’s no point sending responsive emails, but we want people to be in the habit of consuming emails on the go.

What do you think the biggest email marketing trend (the one that everyone will be talking about) will be in the year to come?

I’m going to cheat here and give two answers as I think they’re both worthy. One of the hottest trends right now, and one I don’t see declining, is the increased use of machine learning and AI in email marketing. More companies will be harnessing these technologies to improve their email marketing efforts and I only see that as a good thing. The other trend I want to see taking off is more accessible email. As email marketers, our emails are just simply not accessible enough.

For those of us who might not know, can you expand a little bit about what you mean by “accessible email”?

For sure. Accessibility, put simply, is how easy it is for your email to be consumed by people with varying degrees of disabilities. There are a few different ways we can focus on this, both in the email code and in the general design and strategy. Through 2017 and into 2018, I’d like to see more people sending emails that are fully accessible.

How can AI and machine learning help companies improve their email marketing efforts?

We have to look no further than the subject lines that come out of Phrasee for an example of what AI and machine learning can currently do. The term I see being banded around is ‘Taking the guess work out of subject lines’. Why stop with subject lines? I’d like to see the guess work taken out of other areas. If AI can tailor conversations, or even design choices, in email we could see a truly revolutionary approach to email marketing, allowing email marketers to focus more time into improving their emails elsewhere.

What’s your #1 favourite thing and #1 biggest pet peeve about working in the email marketing space?

My #1 favourite thing about working in the email marketing industry is the people. Attending events and catching up with email geeks you haven’t seen for a while. A lot of the people I’ve met at events, on Twitter, or just generally online I’d count as friends rather than fellow email marketers. My biggest pet peeve, hmm, outside spam bots on Twitter it has to be the defeatist attitude some email people have. We should be proud of our industry, the results it brings and the recent advancements in email marketing.

Final question, for branding’s sake, who is your favourite superhero?

Does Charlie Conway count as a superhero? He does in my head! Without cheating it has to be The Flash. Imagine how much email coding he can do in a day. My hero.

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