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Who to follow: Jaina Mistry

Who to Follow: Jaina Mistry (@jainamistry)

Jaina Mistry joined the team at Litmus as their newest Email Marketing Specialist this past year. She can currently be found creating Litmus email marketing campaigns, as well as writing awesome posts for the Litmus blog and Litmus community.

A 9-year veteran of the email marketing field, Jaina, like so many of us, got her start in email marketing completely by accident. Working as a web developer/designer at the time, Jaina was surprised to learn that designing and building emails was to be a big part of her role.

Finding that she took to email like a duck to water, Jaina jumped in with both feet, building herself an impressive email marketing career and resume over the ensuing years.

Today, Jaina is active on social media, particularly Twitter, where she regularly interacts with the growing email marketing Twitter community, contributing excellent blog posts, staying up to date  on the latest email marketing developments, and honing her strong gif game.

Oh, and she also has a pretty sweet website: jainamistry.com

Now that we know that Jaina is not shy about calling out other marketers when they drop the ball, let’s see what else she has to say…

An interview with Jaina Mistry

Why do you think you gravitated towards email marketing? What did you find appealing?

I think I fell into email marketing as a career, it just sort of happened! The one thing that probably lured me away from web dev to email was probably the challenges it posed–the sheer amount of email clients and devices to support, and the fact you’ve got so little time to grab the subscribers attention. The things that probably frustrate email marketers the most! But when you get it right, it’s incredibly rewarding. Just takes a lot of testing to get there.

With so little time to grab subscribers’ attention, what should an email marketer do to make sure that their emails don’t get overlooked? What has worked for you?

That’s a big worry among email marketers–their emails being overlooked. To make sure your emails aren’t overlooked by your subscribers you “just” have to make sure you’re sending them relevant and interesting content, and keeping your trust built up with them. Just, I say. It’s no easy task.

It’s no longer about open-bait subject lines that scare, surprise, or sometimes fool a subscriber into opening your email. It’s about building a relationship with your subscribers, by sending them emails they want to open of their own volition because you’ve spent time building trust with them by sending them content they’re happy to engage with when they receive it.

In the past what’s worked for me most has been a regular sending pattern, enabling the subscribers to almost be able to predict when they’re going to receive an email and be ready for it.

Sometimes you can’t blame the subscriber for “overlooking” your emails. We’re connected 24/7, checking our emails who knows how many times a day. And sometimes there are those times when you’re just too busy to look at some emails.

Where does the line between “email marketing” and “spam” lie?

There’s a bit of a divide between what end-users/subscribers see as spam and what email marketers see as spam.

Any email that comes across as uninteresting or unwanted can sometimes be seen as spam by a subscriber. Even if they subscribed to it at some point. This hurts my brain a little bit. Internally I’m yelling, “But you asked for it!!” Subscribers don’t care that, technically, spam is unsolicited email that you personally haven’t subscribed for. Spam to them is anything they don’t want in their inbox.

Email marketers have to be careful not to “spam” inboxes. The best way to do this is to be really up-front with the subscribers by letting them know exactly the type of content they can expect to see in emails from you and their frequency. Send them emails they want to receive chock full of great content that’s relevant to them. Don’t let them see your emails as spam.

It almost feels like the word spam is being redefined by the users. Email marketers definitely don’t like this. I don’t. But it acts as a reminder for emails marketers to always be more thoughtful of their email campaigns and that question of why exactly they’re sending said campaigns.

How does using social media (specifically your Twitter account) help you in your current role as an email marketing specialist? Where do the two platforms cross over?

This year at Litmus’ TEDC in London I spoke about keeping up in the email industry. You see, just over two years ago I moved from London to Bahrain. Where I still am. Back then I was working for a company, based in London, who’d very kindly allowed me to work remotely from Bahrain. The massive downside of that was that I was removing myself from my colleagues and potential peers within the industry. That company has zero training budget, so there was no way I’d be able to further my knowledge of email marketing, or my career, on my own.

I learned that there was a very active email marketing community on Twitter. So I joined in. I followed the hashtag almost religiously. Jumping on any link shared, cautiously joining into conversations. And I learned a heck of a lot from people posting and sharing.

I kind of doubt I’d be where I am right now had I not pushed myself to be more active on Twitter. It’s connected me with a lot of fantastic people within the email ‘verse!

Right now, Twitter helps me keep abreast of what’s going on in the email industry. It’s usually the first place news breaks–it’s where I first learned that Gmail will soon be supporting CSS and media-queries.

What makes an email marker’s twitter account worth following?

People who have an opinion. Whether I agree isn’t important, I love learning from others who share their thoughts openly and honestly. Also, that person’s got to be as open and willing to hear other people’s opinions without smacking them down.

How much email marketing personalisation is “too much”? Is there a point where it gets creepy and scares customers away?

There totally is a point when personalisation can go a step too far. When it sounds like you’re tracking the customers every movement on their site by sending them an email at every touch point.

It’s great to have personalised, relevant and timely emails, but if I get an email saying “I’ve noticed you’ve just done x one our site”… it definitely feels a little creepy to me. Customers don’t necessarily know just how much data you have on them. So it’s good to ask yourself, if I saw this data in an email to me, how would I feel.

What advancements in the email marketing field are you looking forward to/anticipating for 2017?

With Gmail’s recent changes, I’m going to have to say I’m excited to see where email development goes next. Gmail’s been the one major client holding back email developers in how they have to code their emails. Now that Gmail supports <style> in the <head> and media-queries, it feels like big things are changing.

And with Litmus’ partnership with Microsoft, as well as Gmail releasing developer documentation, email developers are finally being heard by email client makers. Who knows, more email clients may follow suit in the year to come. Email developers may not have to code blindly, but actually be able to reference what works, what doesn’t, and where.

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

So many to choose from! Hellboy–he’s not perfect, and that’s okay.

Image credit: Columbia Pictures

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