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Who to follow: Kristin Bond

Who to Follow: Kristin Bond (@EmailSnarketing)

Kristin Bond, AKA “Email Snarketing”, is the email marketing manager for Girl Scouts USA, and a 9 year veteran of the email marketing field. She advocates for a relevant, responsive and positive subscriber experience in her email marketing activities, something she feels is a key to success on the platform.

A true Girl Scout in her own right (Kristin was a Scout for 7 years as a child and is currently an adult Girl Scout), an unapologetic Pokémon Go enthusiast and an established brisket aficionado, Kristin prefers her social media snarky (as her name suggests) and revels in any opportunity to take a shot at marketing’s buzzwords and culture vampires.

Her tweets are funny, topical, interesting and often insightful.

Kristin also runs a cool blog, which can be found here: emailsnarketing.com

She interacts and networks regularly with others in the field, is a board member of the “Women Of Email” community and is ready and willing to speak out against anything and everything that irks her sensibilities.

So, now that we know she is a superstar in the 140 character arena, let’s see what else we can learn from this non-profit dynamo…

An interview with Kristin Bond

How did you get your start in the email marketing field?

 In my second job out of college, I was a copywriter for a life insurance company in Indianapolis. The sales reps I ghostwrote for wanted to send newsletters to their customers. Since I was already writing everything, I was tasked with figuring out this whole email marketing thing. So we decided to work with this rapidly growing email marketing company who happened to have an office in our building – ExactTarget. I quickly learned that I loved every single other part of email a lot more than copywriting, and then moved on to various roles in email operations.

What do you think the biggest changes have been in the email marketing industry during your 9 years in the field? 

The technology, and the community around email. When I started, smart phones were just becoming a thing. I had a Blackberry Pearl. Having to care about rendering across devices made email more challenging, in a good way. There are so many smart people in the industry, and it’s really cool seeing what everyone’s doing to advance email. Those first few years, I felt very alone as an email marketer. But now it (almost) feels cool.

What do you think determines the success of an email marketing campaign?

 I think if an email marketing campaign accomplishes the goal set for it, it’s a success. But not everyone sets clear goals for their emails – it’s just “Oh, we have to send this newsletter because it’s on a schedule.” That’s not enough. Even with a standard newsletter that’s more content than sales, it’s important to evaluate if your content is strong and if people are reading/reacting to it. I actually think it’s harder to do that than with a sales email. Those are pretty clear cut since you can factor in money.

What do you think has driven email marketing’s renaissance?

I think email’s renaissance goes back to technology: consumers carry around tiny computers with them at all times, and marketers can send better, more relevant content than they could a few years ago. As a marketer, when you know that your content is going to be exactly what your subscribers need and want, it’s a lot more satisfying.

What’s next for email marketing?

Someone who doesn’t work in the email industry will write an article about how email is dead, then 15 email marketers will write counterpoint articles about why it’s not dead, then someone (probably me) will tweet about how they wish articles about email being dead were dead. Then all that will keep happening until we’re all dead.

But on a more serious note – a lot of email marketers are still catching up. There are plenty of people who work for orgs and companies like mine that are JUST starting to dip their toes into coding responsive emails and using personalisation. While there are lots of brands using awesome innovative technology, I think we need to remember that there are probably many more brands who are still a few years behind in terms of email.

In summary, I don’t know what’s next for email marketing.

As a gainfully employed email marketer who works for an established company, what is the benefit, for you personally, of using social media platforms such as Twitter as actively as you do?

It’s fun! I love the community around email, and it feels like everyone there hangs out on Twitter. Also, I really like attending conferences, and I work at a non-profit that can’t afford to send me to very many. If people in the email world know me, they’re probably more likely to ask me to speak at their conferences, and if I speak, I get to go for free. I do occasionally meet people at email events who know me on Twitter, and then I don’t know them, and then I feel like a jerk. (So, uh, if anyone reading this introduces themselves to me saying they follow me on Twitter, please wear the exact shirt you’re wearing in your Twitter profile pic and tell me your Twitter handle).

I hate when people just “do social media” because they’re job hunting or only trying to promote their company. If you or your brand is posting interesting content, people will follow and stay engaged. I’m not job hunting right now (and have no plans for it), but if I were silent on Twitter for a long time and then suddenly started posting a lot all at once because I was looking for a job, and the job search advice articles said to “be active on social media in my field,” it doesn’t exactly help. It’s a long game.

From your extensive email marketing experience, what have some of the biggest takeaways been, in terms of effective strategy?

I think for strategy, starting small and then building on it has always been effective. Start with a small test, or a welcome series, or a birthday email, or whatever makes sense for your brand, and then add on to it as you go. It’s fine to have a big picture, dream state of what your email program will be, but when you have a small email team (or when you’re the email team all by yourself), it can get overwhelming really fast.

How do you think the approach differs for those email marketers working in the non-profit sector from those who do not?

My approach actually works great for non-profits (at least, I hope, since that’s what I’m doing!). We usually don’t have budget for any kind of add-on third party email tools, so we HAVE to work with what we’ve got available, often with tiny teams. It’s pretty much just our ESP (okay, and Litmus, but that’s very necessary!).

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

Comics really aren’t my thing, and I hate how women are often portrayed in those types of movies, so I’m going to go with Scarlett O’Hara. She’s a badass.

Image credit: Selznick International Pictures

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