True Life: I Send Email As Part of My Job

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They say hard times foster companionship. (For the purposes of this article, let’s just say “they” is me.)

For example, if you’ve ever been stuck in an elevator with someone, there’s a high probability that they’ll wind up in your wedding party someday.

Rough flight? Good chance that stranger hogging the arm rest next to you will be exchanging holiday stationery come December.

People are wired this way.

It’s why email marketers share a bond unrivaled in the digital realm. Most common folk stress when sending a one off email to their friend, coworker, or boss. Email marketers do this at scale every single day.

But rather than stress about it, email marketers revel in the challenge and rally around it. That’s why The Email Design Conference this year, my first in attendance, felt equal parts Phish concert as it did email conference. Minus the 20 minute guitar solos, everyone there had a shared passion that brought them together.

Passions born from overcoming extreme day-to-day challenges.

And while there are too many to respectfully detail here, the following are just a few of the realities email marketers face every day.

(Feel free to leave your address in the comments if you’d like to exchange holiday greetings.)

Borrowing everyone in the room’s device to preview

Anyone who sends email on behalf of their company is familiar with the pride swallowing process of asking their coworkers to borrow their device or desktop to preview how an email looks. Several times.

In fact, email marketers use their coworkers devices so much, they should probably be on their data plan.

I’ve used my coworkers’ devices to check emails so often I should be on their data plan. (Click to tweet!)

What’s my email look like on iPhone? Android? Who has an iPhone 6+? Wait…what about 5s? Is anyone using Outlook 2003? Who has an iPad Mini?

Differences in device manufacturers, operating systems, screen sizes, rendering engines, and email applications all affect how an email looks on a any device.

Every time a new device or screen size goes to market, an email marketer’s job gets even harder.

If manually checking every device and machine were a universally understood skill, email marketers would have their own trading cards.

“Did you see how many devices Kevin Mandeville checked last year? 364! Glad I picked him on my email marketer fantasy team.”

How can I make this easier?

What if your next email send didn’t involve asking your coworker to scooch over while you preview from their desktop or device?

It is possible to see previews of your email across popular devices and inboxes in seconds. This means you can start reassembling those office relationships today that were previously built upon you always needing something.

Sending way too many proofs

One of the many downfalls of manually checking everyone within earshot’s device is that you end up sending way too many proofs to yourself.

Button formatting looks weird on iOS? Let me go fix that.
Special characters in my subject line aren’t showing up in Outlook? Let me go fix that.
I spelled legitimacy wrong? Let me go fix that.

It seems impossible to identify and fix every little rendering and grammar issue all in one shot. As a result, your inbox becomes flooded with proofs, and anyone familiar with this is also knows that if you don’t delete your previous proofs, you end up lost in “thread-ception.”

When emails are threaded, formatting tends to get a little wacky, having you question your entire purpose not only in this profession, but in life as well.

I’ve sent myself so many proofs that I’m often lost in thread-ception. What’s real? (Click to tweet!)

How can I make this easier?

Sending proofs to yourself (and coworkers!) is always going to be a part of an email marketer’s workflow. It has to be. No matter how smart technology gets, there is still no substitute for the human eye.

However, there are tools like Checklist that check everything that could possibly go wrong with your email for you. In one shot. It’s built of years of research and millions of data points to make sure every email is optimized not only for the inbox, but for your sanity as well.

Fearing the send button

Listen, there is really no tasteful way to put this; if you’ve ever sent an email to large segments of people on behalf of your company, you’ve tasted your own vomit at least once.

There is nothing to be ashamed of here. It’s a perfectly natural, normal thing.

Every time I press send I’m reminded of what my lunch tasted like. (Click to tweet!)

To make things worse, it seems that every ESP asks you, almost condescendingly, if you’re sure you want to send that email.


Are you sure you want to send? Yup.
No but, like, this is going to lots of people. You’re sure you want to do this? I mean, I think so?
You’re seriously going to send this email? Uh. No?

Sending email is scary. In most cases, mistakes are permanent, and since email presents the highest digital ROI for marketers, they’re also very costly.

Losing money because of a snafu in an email usually doesn’t go over very well with the people in charge.

How can I make this easier?

Confidence. And the only way to be more confident about the email you’re sending is by thoroughly testing and previewing your emails before you send.

Post-send paranoia

The fear of sending doesn’t commence once the email has been sent. Anyone who has sent email can tell you that post-send anxiety, albeit much different, is no less intense than pre-send anxiety.

You’re waiting for the other shoe to drop. For the first email complaint that a button isn’t working. For your boss to email you asking “who proofed this”?

As a result, you want to be the first one to find any problems in an attempt to be proactive. So you open the email everywhere you can and click all of the things. Multiple times. This is when every email marketer’s obsessive compulsive disorder kicks in.

You click every link multiple times. You check your iPhone five times in case there were some mobile issues you didn’t see the first four times.

Our click rate is largely compromised by my own paranoia that everything is working. (Click to tweet!)

How can I make this easier?

See Checklist.

Putting out fires post-send

Every email marketer has their own horror story.

An email that accidentally went out as a fax. A dynamic function that broke an entire email. A segment that wasn’t supposed to receive the email that did.

Mistakes happen. When they do, you do your best to start putting out fires. You go from marketing to PR real quick, thinking in terms of damage control rather than email strategy.

I’ve put out more fires than the entire cast of Rescue Me combined. (Click to tweet!)

How can I make this easier?

…by fireproofing your campaigns prior to hitting send. Using tools like Checklist allow you to spend more time on new ideas and possibilities and less time putting out fires and troubleshooting yesterday’s email problems.

How about you?

While we all share a common list of challenges every day, we also have those challenges (seemingly?) unique to us and our process. Think of this as a support group.

Use the comments section or tweet using #emailproblems to share yours.

 

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