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Who to follow: Annett Forcier

Who to Follow: Annett Forcier  (@The_Annett)

Annett Forcier is the UI designer and email designer/developer at social media management platform “Hootsuite” (the internet’s most widely used social media management platform) based in Vancouver, Canada.

Born and raised in Eastern Germany (behind the wall!), Annett’s journey to email marketing was a unique one, to say the least. When the Berlin wall came down in 1989, Annett moved to Munich to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a pastry chef. Sadly, a severe late-onset allergy to grain flour brought a sudden end to Annett’s pastry chef career (although this has not prevented Annett from pastry making altogether; a fact to which her Flickr page can attest).

Disappointed, Annett decided to become a web developer. Finding no schools in Germany at the time that offered relevant courses, Annett bought a home computer and began hacking source code.

As a self taught UX/UI designer, Annett moved to Canada and worked as a web developer for the next 5 years, eventually landing a job with an agency which put her skills to work coding emails.

When she came on staff with Hootsuite in 2015, Annett brought all Hootsuite’s email coding (which had previously been outsourced) back in-house. She created an email design catalogue for the company, and began email consulting across all departments, working closely with Hootsuite’s automation and branding teams.

With a resume like that, a well-earned reputation for generating spontaneous meetups pretty much everywhere she goes, and a kickass Instagram account, Annett has carved out a happy and well-respected niche in the email marketing Twitter community, and has been one of our phavourite phollows for quite some time now.

who to follow: annett forcier

For us here at Phrasee, the opportunity to pick this digital dynamo’s brain was simply too good to pass up.

Let’s see what she had to say…

who to follow: annett forcier

Annett Forcier tale of the tape:

Favourite food: That’s a tough one. It depends on my mood or the weather. I love any food made out of good ingredients that have been prepared well.

Pets: My handsome and very stubborn Husky “Summit”. He has more Instagram friends than I do! @_summit_ 

Worst fear: I don’t have any phobias; I guess scuba diving is not my thing. In my first underwater class I blacked out and apparently tried to climb up on my diving teacher. We were still standing and the water was only half way up my goggles at the time. I passed the Padi open Water diver with 100% in the theory part, though! 

Last big purchase: A Google Pixel for email testing.

Pet peeve: Road blockers (people blocking my ideas and stopping me somehow) drive me insane.

Guilty pleasure: I collect cook and baking books and I binge watching cooking shows on Netflix. 

An interview with Annett Forcier

For those who might not know, what is Hootsuite, and how does it make life easier for digital marketers?

Hootsuite is the most widely used social media management platform today; we have over 15 million users. Hootsuite allows users to easily manage their owned, earned, and paid social account activity from one platform. This saves our users time while helping them reach the largest audience possible. Hootsuite makes it easy for our clients to measure ROI and engage with customers.

How does email marketing help spread the Hootsuite message?

Email is a fundamental part of our marketing mix.  Whether as a vehicle for customer acquisition, product on-boarding, an engagement tool, or to keep customers informed of product enhancements – email is a key tool in our toolbox.

Our email specific metrics, which significantly outperform industry benchmarks, are a strong indicator that our customers/prospects value the information we deliver to their inbox. Rumours that email is dead are greatly exaggerated! In fact, email is as vibrant as ever, especially when part of a well-integrated strategy that includes social.

What is the connection between email and social from an integrated strategy perspective?

I believe email and social media channels go hand in hand. Both are great acquisition and retention tools. We can add subscriber forms to Facebook pages or a link to a pinned tweet. We can also offer shareable content in our email campaigns or notify users on social that an email will go out shortly.

I see it as a holistic strategy to reach customers.

What part (if any) does your personal Twitter account play in this strategy?

I actually never really used Twitter until I became an Email Geek. It has been a couple of years now that I’ve been using Twitter exclusively for email updates. This is the place where I hear about new technologies, industry news and where I organise Email Geek meet-ups. When I travel somewhere I usually post it in a tweet with the hashtag “emailgeeks” to find out if anyone wants to meet up.

Are you the only #emailgeek at Hootsuite? If so, how do you network for ideas?

I am the only one designing and coding emails. But there are multiple teams involved with email marketing. For example the copywriters and automation team. I am part of the brand team. For networking ideas I run my own #emailgeeks group on our internal facebook@work.

Which technologies do you find the most useful when email marketing for Hootsuite?

I code emails in Dreamweaver. I built my own frameworks based on Nicole Merlin’s hybrid/fluid approach. I like the option to save snippets and pull in chunks of code on demand. It lets me come up with new templates quickly. At Hootsuite we recently upgraded to Marketo 2.0. I am in the middle of creating editable modular content blocks. This will give the automation team more possibilities to build out emails on their own without having to touch the code.

What are your favourite and least favourite things about email marketing?

I would rather spend more time planning, designing and coding email campaigns. I am very interested in creating reports and making database design decisions.

But most of my time goes to testing emails. According to our email stats we have to consider the latest email clients as well as Outlook 2000. This is because there are many industries stuck with older computer systems.

We don’t seem to have the luxury trying out more innovative email technologies. We have to be conservative and make sure the email also works well in old Outlook versions. My most favourite thing is probably talking about email. I love to share what I’ve learned and help make my co-workers lives easier.

Final question, for branding’s sake, who is your favourite superhero?I did not grow up with superheroes. They were kind of forbidden in Eastern Germany.

I asked my team, a bunch of amazing designers, and they agreed on ‘Captain Marvel’: kicks ass, sharp shooter and a pioneer of space travel.

Also worth a look: Who to follow: Anne Tomlin!

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