Ask the Experts: What are your top 3 tips for email marketers going into the new year?


In 2021, Webbula launched a video series where we sat down with email industry experts to discuss various topics within the email marketing world. Each month, Webbula introduced a new lineup of email experts with a new topic.

Follow along in 2022, for 12 new questions and a new lineup of email experts. Thank you to every email expert who participated in this video series and provided advice to other email marketers. 

Video transcription completed with Descript. 


HubSpot Video


Anthony Chiulli

Senior Manager, Product Marketing at Iterable 



"Yeah, this is the old crystal ball question. I think one is, is the continuation of being data-driven for marketers. I know it's cliche, but I, I do think that last year and moving forward in this new year is really of high importance for marketers in investing in collecting data, and then leveraging that data, especially first-party data in light of the recent privacy changes from last year.

You know, data, data's kind of become this new currency in which consumers and brands exchange for personalized experiences. I think that infusing data at every touchpoint and kind of tailoring that experience is, it's going to be a big focus and a big need this year for marketers. I think related, but a little bit different is just the accessibility and the access of sharing data within an organization is going to be paramount.

You know, there's a lot of, a lot of players in this space like Snowflake and others and, and CDPs that make it easy to kind of centralize that data. So you can easily share it across your organization. But I don't think brands can continue to operate in silos where the website team [handles] somebody in the web experience and the email team is on an email experience.

There needs to be a kind of a central source of truth for customer data and for every department to be unified in creating those experiences across the customer journey. You know, I think the third one is just a result of the tumultuous past few years with the global pandemic.

But I do think that you know, what I call human-to-human marketing is going to be a big theme this year. It already is quite frankly, but the world's a completely different place than consumers have all of these new higher expectations for brands to really understand them as individuals and feel like they can connect with brands and not be talked to.

So I really think like creating relationships on a personal level and individualizing those experiences and really trying to build relationships with your consumers rather than just marketing at them is a really good path forward for brands this year." 




HubSpot Video


Betsy Grondy

Senior Email Marketing Manager, Blackhawk Network



  "So, I think these are pretty much the same from year to year, always database health and hygiene. Make sure you are keeping on top of unsubscribes and not mailing to them that you are only mailing to people who have recently engaged with you and that you're getting as much accurate data as you can.

So all of that is under database health and hygiene. And then, I think segmentation is super important, which is kind of a sub of database health and hygiene, sending the right message to the right person and at the right time, and then send frequency as well. I think a lot of us, especially coming off of the holiday, everybody's been email, email, email, and it's just going to be one of those things that you need to kind of monitor and check your unsubscribes against your sending frequency and make sure that you're targeting people in a way or sending to people at a cadence that they're comfortable with." 




HubSpot Video


Shmuel Herschberg

CMO, Shyn Media 



"Okay. So that's a good question. So I think, you know, back to the basics January, we always have our new year's resolutions and they're typically always the same. So I think when it comes to email marketing, we got to go back to the basics and talk about segmentation.

By that, I mean not having active and lapse campaigns. You also have to remember when people come into your funnel, the first stage is to make sure that they're segmented correctly. And then they move over to the second stage. So you have to make sure that whatever triggers you have to catch them [drop them] into like broadcast campaigns or whatever.

Make sure that it is set up correctly or else your list won't really grow. I think you need to remember that the people on your email list are actually real people. I think too often we get caught up in numbers and see percentages and numbers, and we forget that it's real people reading your emails.

So, remember that part of the equation and have a holistic one-to-one customer or potential customer communication [strategy], that sets the tone correctly for your brand. And while we're talking about your brand, we need to remember that we're living our brand 24/7.

 So for example, if you're managing emails, your job is essentially to think about all the different categories you can on how you can best possibly email your subscribers. So sometimes we think like, 'oh, I think I might be emailing too, too much.'

Right. And we kind of get that feeling because we're breathing that, you know, 24/7, however, your subscribers are being inundated with hundreds, if not thousands, of other emails from other brands. So I think if you're thinking, 'am I emailing too often?' The answer most of the time is probably not."




HubSpot Video


Lisa S. Jones

Chief EyeMail Officer, EyeMail Inc. 



"The top three tips for email marketing that I see are as follows. When we think about the fact that there are 466 million people that suffer from a disabling hearing loss issue, we should consider this market getting ready for the new year. We should add a closed captioning feature that allows the words to be played along with the video content that's in the email inbox and that will ensure more accessibility and inclusiveness for a broader audience.

That's [number] one. Second point. I believe that we should include video as part of a standard for the email experience.  Our customers, whether they are on the brand side or the consumer side, should be captivated by a video that autoplays up to 60 seconds in their email inbox.

So I think adding video content to your email is critical. The third point I would say is to consider experimenting [with] what day of the week to send out your campaigns now pre-pandemic. It was, oh, you need to send it out on a Tuesday potentially at 9:00 AM, et cetera.

But now we've learned so many things independently. We should consider an experiment [at] different times of the day or different days of the week to send our content. And I would also say, let's think about our subject lines.  Sometimes it might say newsletter one, newsletter two newsletter three.

I think we should expand our creativity to give more captivating captions for our subject lines instead of volume one, volume two, volume three."



HubSpot Video


Magan Le

Email and Lifecycle Marketing, Bolt



  "So, I would say going into 2022, you should, I mean, anytime you're going into a new year and just more regularly in general, you should always take a look at your automated programs. So [you should know] what you have running in the background because I feel like those are always so easy to forget as evidenced in the past year and a half or so.

A lot has changed,  so you want to make sure that what you're sending out,  still makes sense [and is] still relevant to your audience and still performing the way you want it to.

And then the other thing, especially because of the pandemic, I would say experience. It kind of goes along the same lines of things [that] have been changing.

You don't know what it's going to look like. Even in 2022, you should always experiment just to see, you know, what's resonating with your audience today. And then you should reconsider how you might define success. And so I feel like a lot of the times email marketers are very stuck to just email-specific metrics.

But I mean, obviously like with mail privacy protection, some of that data is not necessarily reliable anymore. And a lot of the struggle is that you have to really talk to your data teams, just to see what is the real impact of the emails that you're sending out? Is it, you know, revenue, new subscribers, loyalty, retention, reactivation, whatever, whatever it is you need to get to whatever the business goal that your email is working toward."




HubSpot Video


Ryan Phelan 

RPE Origin



"Number one: continue to optimize what you have in terms of automation and promotion based upon ever-changing conditions and data fluidity. You've got to keep evolving your program as your consumers evolve through a pandemic, supply chain, and the next great problem that comes around."



HubSpot Video


Tejas Pitkar

Senior Product Evangelist, Netcore Cloud 



"The first one would be that adaptors made privacy protection changes. Opens are gradually going to feed out, we see that now. So as a result, it could be a really great practice for marketers to start focusing on the performance matrix. Like clicks, the open rates, immersion rates, customer lifetime value, or average order value, especially for e-commerce marketers.

So they need to shift gradually in the direction of tracking other performance metrics. The second one, I would say that because of all of these privacy protection changes, [marketers] will need to make the email more interactive in the coming year. And then this either means getting more replies from your customers or getting active feedback regularly from them, it's going to be like super important.

So, it should also focus on good storytelling. You can make them [emails] super interactive with the kind of stories that you're telling them [your subscribers], the kind of narratives that you have inside your emails, and then offering them [your subscribers] some kind of deal that action to be taken by the image, [even include games inside your emails.]

So, [there] is a newsletter I'm subscribed to and there's always a question at the end of every newsletter. Like it's a really long email, but the story is so good inside the emails that, you know, you read the email in one flow, and then he asks you one question at the end of that email, you can end it by replying to the email, or you can take a big poll.

He has some options. So you know tactics like these need to be used [in the upcoming year] Yeah, to make sure that, you know, your subscribers are actually engaging and responding to emails actively and expecting them in their inbox. The third one, I think in my opinion, [is] the approach of retaining really high-value customers of yours, you know, for the longer term, will become important in 2022. I think customer lifetime value, as I said before, is going to become the new star metric for retail and ecommerce marketers.

There was recent research done by Gardner that states at 39% of global CMOs, [are] planning to increase the sales of their existing products only for their existing customers. So, you know, email marketers don't just care about who their best customers are right now, but who will be the best customer in five or ten years down the line.

And if your existing customer spends $500 dollars at the online store every month, what is the potential that that customer is going to spend $20,000 let's say the next two years? So these are the kinds of questions that marketers are going grapple with. 

So in the coming years, they can take the help of AI, big data, and machine learning, which is actively involved now in emails to make all of these kinds of decisions. So providing a good brand experience, good customer service from your brand, or tailored emails for individual segments are very important for retention in the coming year. Loyalty programs [and] communicating about them actively through emails to high-value customers will drive your revenue."



HubSpot Video


Dela Quist

CIO, Alchemy Worx



"I think the first tip that I have is probably the most important and almost it puts everything else in our view into shade. And that is 2022 is going to be about being authentic. 

Saying you do something it's not the same thing as being seen to do something. Where it becomes really important for email marketers is kind of like around personalization because things they defined as being authentic. Yeah, getting my name wrong or not knowing that I bought this or forgetting that I bought there.

So getting the product that I bought wrong in my recommendations and all of that sort of stuff. So we've had a very challenging two years or so from an emotional perspective, an economic perspective from, you know, the whole thing, the pandemic, supply chain, I can go on and on about the challenges we've had as human beings.

And I think these kind of meaningful things that are all very, very cool. So, be authentic, be seen to be authentic. Don't make mistakes that make it look like you don't care, or you're just paying lip service because you will be punished. The second thing I would say, and looking at time is audience management,

With the iOS opens being taken away what happened is that we were all forced to look for other signals of engagement outside of open rates. That's something we spoke to a lot in 2021 way before the iOS 15 announcement about audience management. And it's about saying just because we define engaged as opened or not opened doesn't mean there's no other types of engagement and to look for them. And it's forced everybody else onto the audience management page, which is really to, do not assume that the only form of engagement is opens, right.

Site visit, very important, obviously purchases abandoned cart. Those are really easy ones. But there are other things signals. I mean, visiting the website is another one. You know, visiting the store, these are all signals that you can put back into email marketing and I'd recommend you do that.

And audience management is really where the iOS open rates a dead issue came about. We at Alchemy Worx were fine because mostly we were looking at those segments and signals. Anyway, the final thing that I would say in terms of advice, and this is something that we're going to be doing throughout 2022 at Alchemy Worx is, you know, you're supposed to, there's a big thing in the news at the moment about.

The folks in Florida whose HOA told them that they couldn't have their decorations up because you can't put your holiday season declarations. Your Christmas tree cannot go up before Thanksgiving. Okay. And there's this idea about, 'oh, don't say this too early' and everything. And I suddenly thought, have you noticed on us all advice in email marketing and marketing, in general, is too late?

It comes out when it's too late to do anything with it. So our commitment for 2022 is I'm going to be telling you what you need to do when you can do something about it, and not too late. So, great advice about what to do in the holiday season. Trust me, I'm going to be sending you that in February. I'm kidding but just don't say these guys are crazy. They're speaking too early, actually, look into it and say, thank you, Alchemy Worx, you're giving me enough time to do something for the holiday season. Thank you."


HubSpot Video


Jenna Tiffany 

Founder & Strategy Director, Let's Talk Strategy 


"So new year's exciting time, isn't it? So my first one would be go back to the basics. And I think, you know, lots of people talk about this all the time. Like Brian is, is one of the email geeks who talks about back to basics. So think about what those objectives are, what your planning is, aligning that to the business, and then go into the fun bits, but the tactical element of what the subject line, the content, and the look and feel is going to be, but also think about the empathy.

So think about your customers. Think about the context that they're operating in. There's been lots of change in the last year, and there may be a level of uncertainty a little bit for 2022. But think about that empathy, and maybe there are some automations that you need to review and reflect upon. Reconfigure for that new context.

My final tip will be deliverability. Don't take your eye off the ball on email deliverability. It’s not the sexiest part of email by any means, but it's one of the most crucial. If you don't focus on that [deliverability], you’ve  spent all of that time creating that email and it won't even hit the inbox. That's wasted effort.

So really do focus on deliverability as well."



HubSpot Video


Matthew Vernhout

VP of Deliverability, Netcore Cloud


"They'll probably be pretty common. First stop is properly consenting email. It makes a huge difference when it comes to performance, when it comes to conversions, when it comes to people just straight up engaging with your brand. Which then leads to all things positive when it comes to deliverability and getting messages to the right place.

Authentication is a huge one. Make sure that it's properly configured in all the right places. SPF is on the proper mailing domains. It's not bloated, it's not over 10 lookups, which is something I see quite frequently. You know, DKMS validating, making sure that it works implementing DMARC, at least at reporting.

For many people, I've seen experiences that they've set it up and then they forget about it and they don't bother to ever look at the policies. They never bother to look at the reporting. So, if you're going to do it, you know, definitely get a service that helps with that and read the reports and learn about them.

And then a third one, I think implementing a proper drip campaign, sort of from first engagement with the consumer way through to sort of your last engagement with a consumer. And understanding all the different pieces in between from a welcome program to a sunset program, if need be, or a reconfirmation campaign somewhere down the line based on user engagement or lack of engagement. Those are the three things I think if brands could focus more on those in the new year, they'd have a pretty successful tank on email basics for the starting point."

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