6/5/2020 | 4 MINUTE READ

Email Isn’t Going Anywhere. But Gosh, It Needs to Change.

Employee Spotlight Profile
Alex Lytle, Digital Content Lead
Gardner Business Media, Inc.

Alex Lytle, Digital Content Lead, Gardner Business Media, Inc.

My family and I are BIG Disney people. Since my oldest daughter was born in 2013, we’ve been at least once a year for all seven years. We spend way too much money, walk A TON of steps, and have a blast every time we go. Yep, we’re those people. My personal favorite has to be going out to Disneyland for a day with my wife. We did a behind the scenes tour and checked out every inch of those two parks in a day. It was worth the exhaustion and the flight home with the drunk LA Galaxy fans going to Cincinnati to watch them play FC Cincinnati.

I’ve thought about the Disney fascination and for us, it’s easy. Disney just gets it. They know how to draw me in and make me want to give them thousands of dollars. We had an incident this past trip in early 2020 (right before COVID-19 shut everything down) where it took us more than three hours to get into the park. We were exhausted, starving, and already done with Disney. But the customer service person made it right. We got tons of free stuff. The rest of the day was amazing. We discussed it later on that evening and think that the day was actually made better because of all of the issues we had and what Disney did for us. We would have done it the exact same way all over again. They get it. They made it right.

In my role at Gardner Business Media, I’m the guy sending you way more emails than what you want. Similar to Disney though, we’re trying to get it right. I promise. Personally, I hate getting emails about things I never asked for. I got one a few days ago from a company offering an email marketing product. The person who wrote it tried to draw me in by saying that he receives our emails and they are going into his spam folder. He also ended it by throwing in a “Go Reds” to really suck up to me. He almost had me, until I looked him up and saw that no one at his company subscribes to our emails. To the trash you go! We all get at least a couple of these a day, right? This isn’t making it right in my opinion.

We all know this, but email isn’t going anywhere. There are other communication channels trying to get in the game, but email is still very strong, and we have to get smarter about how we’re using it. With regulations like GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) coming into play (and more on the way), the days of list buying, and spamming customers has to change. Just because others are still leaning on the old school methods of finding an address and spamming you doesn’t mean you have to. Get ahead of the changes before it’s too late.

At Gardner, we’ve gotten smarter. When I first arrived here in 2018, we found the right email service provider that worked best for us. It took some time, but we finally found one. We also started changing our list growing methods and started organically growing those lists rather than forcing new names in. We started implementing more dialogues/pop-up boxes on our sites. If you’re a new visitor and you scroll to 70% of an article, you’re going to get a message about joining our community. Annoying? Absolutely. But we’ve found it to be a great way of growing our audience. Where we have normally seen our lists decrease over time, all of them are currently increasing because of our efforts. It’s great to know that our lists are organically increasing without us having to resort to measures that we all hate (Example: I found this list from a few years back that I think would want to get our newsletter).

If I had to suggest a few ways to step up your email game, here’s a couple ingredients for that secret sauce:

  1. Figure out how to organically grow your list without being too annoying. We really try and control the pop-up game on our sites. It has proven to be one of our most successful tools of generating new names.
  2. Use an email service provider that you can trust. When I first came to Gardner, our team went through this process many times until we were finally happy. There’s a lot to look for so take your time and pick the right one.
  3. Clean/validate your data. We use ZeroBounce at Gardner, but there are other great tools to make sure that the names you’re bringing in are legit. Don’t let subscribe to your newsletter list.
  4. Get rid of the unengaged names. If they aren’t reading your emails, it’s only hurting you in the end. Give them a chance to come back in through something like a re-engagement campaign and remove them if they don’t. You want good deliverability and unengaged names won’t help that.
  5. Test, test, and test some more. Try new things. See what works and what doesn’t. We started doing a Saturday email about a month back highlighting all of our upcoming webinars for the week across all brands. It performed REALLY well and we’re still doing it.

Here’s hoping you can win at the email game. Make it right. Need more information? Or just want to chat about Disney?

Go Reds.

Need more information?
Alex Lytle
Digital Content Lead
Gardner Business Media, Inc.


About the Author

Alex Lytle, Digital Content Lead, Gardner Business Media, Inc.

Alex Lytle

Alex is the Digital Content Lead at Gardner Business Media. His areas of expertise include digital content excellence and growth, specifically in email, social, and web audience development. He has more than ten years of experience in digital marketing, including web design/development, email marketing, lead generation, and more.

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