Email design: how mobile should you go?

Email is your brand’s virtual shop window

Flashy email design, gripping email copy and intelligent personalization – these are the things most of us strive to deliver as email marketers. We want to get the look and feel of our brand spot on. Plus, we want to deliver memorable experiences that’ll help us shine  So sometimes we overlook the bare necessities, like ‘Can my customer see what I’m seeing?’. Email mobile optimization is one of those fuzzy areas of email design: some brands will nail it as a priority, while others haven’t even got it on their radar. Here’s why it matters:

For retail and ecommerce marketers, mobile’s taken over the market share. Mcommerce sales worldwide reached an estimated $1.357 trillion in 2017, or 58.9% of ecommerce spending overall. By 2021, mcommerce will account for 72.9% of the ecommerce market.” And for B2B businesses, it’s a similar story: 76% of Gen X buyers and 84% of millennials said their mobile device was critical to their work.

Email is STILL the top channel for marketers looking to maximize on ROI, delivering £32 for every £1 you spend. But in order for it to fire in all cylinders, it’s got to be optimized for your customers’ viewing preferences.

The customer experience should be seamless, whatever the device

Designing for mobile users shouldn’t be viewed as a separate component to your regular email design. Creating a smooth, effortless experience for your customers across all their touchpoints is the ultimate goal for any marketer – especially when 50% of consumers now regularly use more than four touch points during the buying process.

So the question is:

‘How mobile should I go with my email design?’

Every brand is different, and what works for your peers might not be the best fit for you. Deciding on the level of influence mobile has on your email design is the best way to ensure you’re optimizing content for your customers – without leaving any out in the cold.

Get to grips with just how many of your contacts open, click and convert on mobile devices. If you have a best-of-breed ESP, like dotmailer, you can access a detailed breakdown of email client share for every campaign you send. Find out the percentage of Iphone opens, for example, or build a more accurate picture of how many tablet engagers you’ve got on the books. A quick pointer: getting to grips with this information can also improve your send time optimization; a dip in mobile opens at certain times will highlight the times when it’s inopportune to push out marketing messages.

Once you’ve got the measure of mobile engagement, you can decide just how mobile you’re going to get. We’ve rounded up the important differences between mobile-friendly and mobile-responsive email design to help you make up your mind.

Mobile-friendly

Mobile-friendly email design (sometimes called mobile-first or mobile-aware) is fixed width and optimized for reading on a handheld device. This design relies on a single column layout with large text and CTA buttons; the font size isn’t responsive, but is large enough to be read on smaller screens. Extra spacing around campaign elements allows for maximum ‘tappability’.

Mobile-friendly email designs are simple to create and guarantee customers will be about to view your creatives on any device. However, their primarily single-column layout offers limited design options, especially for meatier campaigns like newsletters.

Responsive

Responsive email design uses CSS media queries to create fluid tables and images, allowing your campaign to adapt for different screen sizes and orientations. You can prioritize different layouts, font sizes, colors and even content based on the device customers are using. Previously, Gmail didn’t support media queries – but that’s no longer the case.

Using responsive email design gives you much more control over your campaigns. The drawback is that the design process is more complex and will require some coding. Some best-of-breed ESPs will have responsive design baked into their platform as standard; brands using dotmailer can select which email content blocks they want to display on what device. Plus, all of our templates are designed to be mobile responsive – even the free ones.

What about hybrid email design?

Hybrid email, sometimes called ‘spongy’ email, uses a combination of percentage-based widths, maximum-widths and clever and complex workaround coding for Outlook clients to ensure emails are adjusted based on a device’s width. Hybrid design offers marketers universal ‘friendliness’, but requires more development knowledge – and can get messy if left to inexperience. Always test any new design across multiple devices and email clients to ensure you’re delivering a consistent customer experience

If you’re interested in building email campaigns with hybrid design, we’re here to help you. dotmailer’s talented Digital Creatives have the full mix of design and coding skills, and can help your team execute beautiful, consistent mobile-optimized campaigns and pages. Get in touch with your Account Manger or check out our Creative Services page.

What next?

dotmailer has a guide that goes into more detail on mobile email design. You’ll get real-world examples for top brands, more insight and a handy list of 10 best practices to help you stand out in any inbox.

Grab our free best practice guide on email design.

 

The post Email design: how mobile should you go? appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 6 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

 Web design differences between B2C & B2B (and what works for both!)

Web design is a powerful way to appeal to the type of person who wants to buy your product. But how does it differ between B2C versus B2B? Understanding the differences in web design best practices between consumer retail and business sales is key to succeeding in e-commerce, especially if you’re transitioning or expanding your offering.

Understanding your buyer

B2B and B2C buyers have similarities, but in many respects, they’re very different. Throughout the article, keep in mind that the core difference between the two is the motivation of your audience:

  • B2B buyers’ primary goal is to solve a logical, objective problem. Their secondary goal is to show their superiors or stakeholders that they are valuable to the company.
  • B2C buyers’ primary goal may be to solve a logical, objective problem, but it may also be to fulfill an emotional need. Their secondary goal is to feel better about their quality of life.

In addition to their motivations, business buyers and consumers have expectations for what a “good” and “trustworthy” e-commerce website looks like, depending on your industry. This is why you’ll often find that competitors that are vying for the same audience will have very similar layouts, even if the design components – color, logo, content, and icons – are unique to each brand. You don’t want to be too different from your competitors, or your audience may subconsciously lose trust in your brand.

B2B buyers will also need a more complicated website design than B2C (generally speaking), as the price point is so much higher, and often, business products come with ongoing maintenance. An e-commerce website that sells to brands may require secure logins that lead to an existing customer portal, the ability to offer quantity-based pricing based on several factors, alternative payment methods and lines of credit, and buying approval controls, among other factors. On the other side of the spectrum, B2C e-commerce should aim to get customers to checkout as soon as possible and focus on removing any barriers to checkout. For personal consumers, often, the simpler the website, the more effective.

B2B and B2C design differences

B2B buyers are looking for a solution to a problem that their organization faces, which means that they’re looking for details and proof of value when they examine vendor’s e-commerce websites. They’re also looking for a solution that makes them look intelligent and resourceful to their boss or board members – which is an important detail to remember when working on your web design. The best product will be passed over if the website looks silly or untrustworthy, because your lead either won’t trust it themselves, or won’t feel comfortable sharing it with their team.

B2C customers are also looking for a website that looks trustworthy, but it’s often not their main priority (as long as it doesn’t look untrustworthy). For many retail purchases, the customer is looking for a website that shows them a lifestyle that they aspire to, or that makes them feel good about themselves. They don’t need to justify their purchase to anyone else, so the focus is on persuading the current viewer that your product will make them happier.

Calls to action

Because B2B buyers work with a team to decide on purchases, and must justify their choice to several people, web design that appeals to businesses should allow for a much longer sales cycle than B2C sales.

To appeal to the business buyer, make sure that your calls to action don’t appear prematurely on your e-commerce website. This means avoiding big calls to action that demand a purchase immediately – they’re just unrealistic, as most B2B buyers will need to return to your site at least five times before they’re ready to contact you.

Instead, focus on CTAs that drive your viewers towards further information, such as your blog or resources related to the product they viewed, and that result in you capturing contact information such as their email address. Getting contact info will give you a path to reactivate their interest later down the line, and keep the conversation going over time. Pique viewers interests with account registrations, free quote requests, whitepaper downloads, and other sign-ups that offer immediate value with little risk.

On the other hand, B2C customers may react favorably to calls to action. Our favorite example is our client Joe Grooming: on their website, we kept a minimalist design, but added the detail that every “buy” button on their product pages matches the unique Pantone color assigned to the product.

Length and detail of content

According to Komarketing’s 2015 B2B Web Usability Report, 46% of B2B buyers report rejecting potential vendors because their website is unclear about what exactly they do. That same report also found that 42% left e-commerce websites immediately when served an animated ad or popup (such as for e-books or mailing signups).

When creating your B2B web design, keep in mind that your viewer is busy, under pressure, and looking for answers. They don’t want to be distracted and feeling like their time being wasted will make them move on to your competitors’ websites.

The bottom line: your B2B website needs more content than a B2C e-commerce site, but you must be strategic in what content you produce. Focus on articles, original surveys, and detailed product descriptions that compliment your homepage that states clearly and succinctly what your company does.

A great example of a brand that hits all these points is Polycom, one of – if not the – most ubiquitous office telecom brands. Their e-commerce website focuses on making it very clear where visitors should click, almost to a fault, with this grid, which appears right below their hero image:

By literally spelling out the most likely thoughts a viewer may have when they navigate to the site, Polycom is able to minimize the amount of time visitors spend between seeing the home page and finding a product that solves their problem.

Web design principles that apply to both B2B and B2C

While the goals and motivations of B2B and B2C customers differ, you’re still appealing to people who want to feel good about buying from your brand. Focus on how you can assure each customer that your brand is watching out for them, and they’ve made the right choice and gotten the best deal. If your e-commerce site effectively communicates these things, you’ll see your sales – and loyal customers – increase steadily.

Intuitive navigation

Nobody wants to spend time clicking around a cluttered website. A disorganized online presence is one of the most reliable ways to drive away customers, no matter if you sell makeup or enterprise software. Focus on making web design choices that intuitively prompt users towards the next step in their customer journey, without taking them on any unnecessary detours.

Emotional appeals

Both consumers and business buyers want to emotionally connect to your brand, as well as feel like they made the right logical choice. In fact, according to CMSWire, 10 to 40 percent of consumers form emotional attachments to brand before purchasing, and over 50 percent of business buyers felt emotionally connected to their vendors. If you’re wondering why, try to imagine trusting a group of people for purely logical reasons – it’s almost impossible. We’re all human, after all.

When you create your web design, make sure that it appeals to your customers’ hearts as well as their minds. A quick cheat sheet: include images with people in them, especially if they’re making eye contact with the user. Understand the emotional impact of color schemes. Lastly, write your content as if you’re speaking to the person reading it.

Performance optimization

Last but not least, a site that doesn’t load quickly, has buttons that don’t work, or is otherwise sloppy in its execution will kill your brand. According to Kissmetrics, your site should load in under 3 second, with 2 seconds being ideal. Think the stakes aren’t high enough? 79% of shoppers that leave your website because it’s slow will never come back, and 44% will tell their friends about it.

When creating your web design – or selecting a web designer – make sure to prioritize page load time. If it comes down to that high-quality animation playing in the background, or shaving a few seconds off your load time, pick the latter.

If you don’t like it, neither will they

At the end of the day, much of web design is about common sense. Does your site look appropriate for your customers? Does it work correctly? Can your visitors find what they’re looking for? Great web design answers all of these questions with a resounding “yes!”

Remember, no matter who you’re selling to, they’re a human who wants to feel that they’re making the right choice. Your web design is the primary way that they learn what your brand stands for, who your products are meant for, and whether they can trust you – so make sure you’re communicating with your audience effectively by investing in a great website.

The post  Web design differences between B2C & B2B (and what works for both!) appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 7 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

How to approach a cool email creative design

Email creative design is important for many reasons. Firstly, you are representing your brand via an electronic communication – so you want to make the right impression and ensure that your contacts to have a positive interaction with it.

A well-constructed yet simple email will also contribute to a positive sending reputation, as it’s the quality of the campaign’s design that will inspire repeat interaction. And this repeat interaction is what’s needed to build a loyal contact base that frequently engages with you via email.

Top tips in approaching email design

When designing for email, you should always approach the task as though you’re dealing with hostile environments: spam filters, rendering differences (Outlook rendering differs to that on Gmail, and it’s the same with Android and iPhone). Email has to jump through many hurdles to render correctly so bear this in mind when creating templates and layouts. Ask yourself: will this design contribute to the purpose of the email or is it unnecessary graphic furniture?

11 seconds…

11 seconds is the average length of time people take to decide whether they want to interact with your email. So with this in mind, ask yourself, does the email content have too many bells and whistles? Is all of the content necessary or is some of it just gumpf? An overloaded creative can dilute impact and appear overwhelming, preventing your contacts from following through with the primary goal you had in mind. Simplicity is key; a design with purpose contributes to increased conversion and ultimately ROI.

Where is prime real estate?

It’s the top left-hand corner of ALL emails? Why? Because it’s what’s viewed on the preview pane of Outlook. It’s what’s pulled through in the pre-header text (important when viewing email on a mobile phone).

Remember to reinforce the CTA when they get to the bottom of the email; this should highlight the purpose of the email and act as the teaser to drive the next action.

Think outside the box

For email campaigns that are going to be viewed regularly, such as welcome programs or lapsed customer programs, why not soup them up by incorporating some animation? Tech giant, Dell, lifted email marketing revenue by 109% by using a GIF-centric campaign – so it’s a tried and tested tactic. You can also maximize the effort that goes into creating GIFs by opting for ‘evergreen’ blocks that can be used across other campaigns.

If you need help with creating awesome GIFs for your emails, our Creative Services team run animation workshops that are designed to help you optimize interactions and ensure the designs can degrade gracefully for mailbox providers that can’t render animation.

Tracking

It’s important with all these design efforts that you’re tracking the impact they’re having on your results. When it comes to CTA buttons or any links, make sure you’re tagging them so you can a) work out what content has the highest interest and b) what CTA has the most impact. This is important to get insight into what resonates with your contacts and what doesn’t.

Don’t forget…

Despite email design being key, always cater for contacts who have images turned off (images are turned off by default in Outlook!) So, use text that will encourage them to view the content in its intended format, and offer a plain-text version of your message for every campaign you send out.

The above is just a snippet of the design tips you can apply to your email marketing. If you’d like to get some more expert advice, our Creative Services team have years of experience in email design and best practice; get in touch with your Account manager for more information.

The post How to approach a cool email creative design appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.dotmailer.com

3 unforgettable email design tips

Marketers have the power to send flashy emails with advanced personalization, amazing creative and gripping copy. However, it is easy to get caught up with pushing the boundaries in your campaigns, and even easier to forget the basics of what should be best practice. The aim of this blog is to remind you of three important tips you must remember when putting together your campaigns.

  1. Remember the journey to open

When checking their emails most people think of three things: who is it? What is it? Where do I go from here?

There are three things that need to be in place to ensure a successful open rate. Your friendly from name and domain should identify who you are as a sender; the copy of your email should state your message clearly; your call-to-action should clearly tell the recipient what you would like them to do.

The call-to-action should be:

  • Above the fold

Allow the recipient to click through without having to scroll to find a button or a hyperlink.

  • Compelling

Give the recipient a real and urgent reason to act straight away.

  • Catchy

A good call-to-action should prompt the recipient to click immediately and not move on.

  • Frequent

Give the recipient more than one opportunity to click through.

  1. Balance between images and copy

An image can make your email look super sexy and sleek, or break it.

Make sure you choose an image that’s correctly sized so it doesn’t take too long to download, and ensure it’s in the appropriate file format. A general rule of thumb is: you can use JPEG’s for photos, and GIF’s for everything else.

The most important thing is to make sure your email works just as well without the images. Several email clients have images turned off by default, which will obviously change the way your email will initially look. Header text and alt tags should be visible when images are turned off to provide context. Only Taylor Swift likes a blank space!

In dotmailer, you can preview your email with images turned off prior to sending. Pretty handy, huh?

  1. Don’t forget mobile

Recent research from the DMA shows that the share of smartphone usage is now just shy of the desktop, with almost one third of consumers (31%) choosing smartphones as the main device to click through and buy.

When building your campaigns, remember that most mobile users only see 100 words per screen, and patience is low when on the move. This also applies to your subject lines – for example, iPhone users only see 30-40 characters of a subject line. Optimize your content to meet the requirements of a mobile user, with concise, clear copy, scalable images, and tappable CTAs. Check out how your emails look on mobile in dotmailer, prior to send, with our Litmus partnership.

Ultimately, the best person to tell you how your emails should look is your recipient. Split-test your campaigns, listen to your customers, and test how they respond to your creative with reporting metrics. Optimize your design strategy from the results, and watch your campaigns thrive.

Looking for more design inspo? Check out our 15 minute cheatsheet: On your marks: race to better emails with these 5 steps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

1Source: DMA Consumer Email Tracking Study 2016 – https://dma.org.uk/research/consumer-email-tracker-2016

The post 3 unforgettable email design tips appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.dotmailer.com

6 best practices for the perfect email design

Optimizing your brand

One of the most crucial email design practices is preserving brand identity and consistency. These principles include putting your brand name in the “From” field, ensuring that the “To” field holds the receiver’s name instead of their email address, and using an identifiable address to send from. Essentially, each part of your email needs to be on brand.

Adding your logo to the top left corner is also a great way to catch your reader’s attention.

While the subject line does play a key role in email marketing, it’s the domain reputation that matters. If your company holds a high domain reputation score, it becomes easier for other design elements to act in support.

Headers and pre-headers

Snippet text is one of the newest, most popular trends in email marketing. Email clients such as Outlook, Gmail, and iOS mail allow users to show a snippet (or preview) of text, which is usually limited to 100 characters or less.

The iPhone 6S and the iOS 9 also have a feature known as “Peek and Pop” that allows users to “peek” at the content of the email from the pre-header section, without actually opening the email. This is especially advantageous for users opening emails from their mobile device, which you can guarantee will be a majority of your customers. By being mobile-responsive and including pre-header text that will grab your reader’s attention, you prove your company to be both tech-savvy and legitimate.

The pre-header text of an email is used as a prescreening tool by subscribers. Because the pre-header is the first thing subscribers see, this is an opportunity to slip in a little subliminal advertising.

Keep the following points in mind when crafting your pre-header text:

  • Keep your text between 40-50 characters
  • Consider how the text will look in the body of your email campaign
  • Use this text as an extension to your subject line
  • Include a call to action

The layout

The layout of an email includes its size, the fonts used, the text size, the colors, etc. Certain studies suggest that the “ideal” email width ranges between 500 to 650 pixels; a vertical layout is preferred.

If you have a lot to cover, a table of contents should be used. And, if you’re showing off multiple products, a navigation bar is the best way to go.

Limit yourself to four or five sections so that your email doesn’t lose its visual appeal.

To ensure your layout is optimized for mobile viewing across several devices, dotmailer offers an EasyEditor tool that does all of the work for you. EasyEditor speeds up the design process with CSS inlining, creating a flawless email design.

Visuals

Graphics are the face of an email and should define your content sections clearly. If you’re using an image, remember to provide fallback color and alt-text. Avoid using background images layered behind text, as some email providers, such as Outlook, do not support background images.

Your links should stand out. At minimum, a hyperlink should be underlined and formatted in a bold, blue font.

Content is King

Aside from using short sentences and paragraphs, be sure to employ design elements like dividing lines, spacing, and content blocks to separate topics. Custom content blocks are an easy and efficient way keep your emails organized and individualized. Use short text blocks of 100 to 200 words that include a strong call-to-action; break up your larger sections of text with images or headlines.

Bullet points are also a great way to make your content readable and digestible. Just remember to use a web-safe standard font such as Arial, Veranda, and Times New Roman.

The footer

The ideal email footer should include your organization’s contact information, links to your website, key products or services, social networks and sharing or “forward to a friend” buttons.

Another way to avoid being sent through the spam chute is to add a, “Why are you receiving this email?” line. Making it easier for readers to unsubscribe from your email will reduce the risk of your email getting tossed in the junk pile.

Standing out from the rest of the emails clogging a customer’s inbox can be a challenge. Applying the design tips above will give you a far better chance not only of avoiding the spam folder, but also of getting people to read your email and convert.

The post 6 best practices for the perfect email design appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 2 years ago from blog.dotmailer.com

The 5 Don’ts of Email Marketing Design

Thrashing out a few friendly words in plain text might be fine practice for your average email to a friend or business colleague. However, when it comes to your email marketing campaign, your design strategy ought to be a bit more robust.

Creating an email for marketing purposes is all about design quality. In other words, how the message is presented is as important as the words used to communicate your call to action (CTA). The key to effective email design is to prioritize user experience, and avoid the major pitfalls.Let’s take a look at the five don’ts of email design:

  1.      Avoid image-only emails

Images might provide you with some consistency in the presentation of your email, but image-heavy campaigns aren’t practical  when it comes to our multi-device world of immediate gratification. There are many reasons why image-only emails are not ideal for email marketing strategy; here are just a few:

  • Greater chance the email will end up in the spam folder
  • The image can’t be displayed on some major email clients
  • Images can take too much time to load and guzzle mobile data
  • No ability to use pre-header preview text

All in all, it’s best to steer clear of image-only campaigns.

  1.      Don’t include too many CTAs

You want your CTA buttons to be few in number and incredibly obvious. One or two clearly demarcated CTA buttons, with a header and sub-headers designed to hook the recipient, is all you really need. You should also keep the number of links within the body of the email to a minimum.

  1.    Avoid non-responsive email templates

Up to 70% of emails sent are now opened on a mobile device, and this number will only continue to grow. Ideally, you should be using a fixed responsive layout, a fluid layout, or a combination of the two to ensure you’re not standing out for all the wrong reasons. The right format for your email can vary from campaign to campaign, but with dotmailer’s EasyEditor and responsive templates, choosing the best design for you can save time and energy.

  1.      Don’t hide the unsubscribe link

Ideally, you want to keep unsubscribers to a minimum, but this aim should be realized in your marketing strategy, and not by holding people hostage.

Without a clear unsubscribe option, your email is more likely to be marked as spam, which could damage your reputation and your chances of continuing your email campaign.

Avoid this unnecessary outcome by including a clear unsubscribe button at the bottom of the email.

  1.      Don’t stray from your branding

The sophistication of today’s email marketing platforms have spoilt us for choice when it comes to color and design;

it can be easy to get lost in a world of creativity and jazzy font styles. However, this can cause you to (inadvertently) ignore branding in favor of experimentation.

Branding is critical to your campaign’s success. People are inundated with emails every day which they’ll sift through at speed, only opening and responding to those that come from brands they recognize and trust. If your brand doesn’t stand out, you stand to lose out.

When it comes down to it, email marketing design strategy is all about the recipient’s point of view. Positioning yourself from the customer’s perspective in an email marketing campaign helps you to consider what they would want to see from a trusted brand. Next time you tackle your email marketing design, stand for a moment in the recipient’s’ shoes – you’ll find it much easier to work out what they want to receive, and in what format they want to receive it.

Download our best practice cheatsheet to your emails from falling prey to avoidable mistakes!

Reblogged 2 years ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Darryl, the man behind dotmailer’s Custom Technical Solutions team

Why did you decide to come to dotmailer?

I first got to know dotmailer when the company was just a bunch of young enthusiastic web developers called Ellipsis Media back in 1999. I was introduced by one of my suppliers and we decided to bring them on board to build a recruitment website for one of our clients. That client was Amnesty International and the job role was Secretary General. Not bad for a Croydon company whose biggest client before that was Scobles the plumber’s merchants. So, I was probably dotmailer’s first ever corporate client! After that, I used dotmailer at each company I worked for and then one day they approached a colleague and me and asked us if we wanted to work for them. That was 2013.  We grabbed the opportunity with both hands and haven’t looked back since.

Tell us a bit about your role

I’m the Global Head of Technical Solutions which actually gives me responsibility for 2 teams. First, Custom Technical Solutions (CTS), who build bespoke applications and tools for customers that allow them to integrate more closely with dotmailer and make life easier. Second, Technical Pre-sales, which spans our 3 territories (EMEA, US and APAC) and works with prospective and existing clients to figure out the best solution and fit within dotmailer.

What accomplishments are you most proud of from your dotmailer time so far?

I would say so far it has to be helping to turn the CTS team from just 2 people into a group of 7 highly skilled and dedicated men and women who have become an intrinsic and valued part of the dotmailer organization. Also I really enjoy being part of the Senior Technical Management team. Here we have the ability to influence the direction and structure of the platform on a daily basis.

Meet Darryl Clark – the cheese and peanut butter sandwich lover

Can you speak a bit about your background and that of your team? What experience and expertise is required to join this team?

My background is quite diverse from a stint in the Army, through design college, web development, business analysis to heading up my current teams. I would say the most valuable skill that I have is being highly analytical. I love nothing more than listening to a client’s requirements and digging deep to work out how we can answer these if not exceed them.

As a team, we love nothing more than brainstorming our ideas. Every member has a valid input and we listen. Everyone has the opportunity to influence what we do and our motto is “there is no such thing as a stupid question.”

To work in my teams you have to be analytical but open minded to the fact that other people may have a better answer than you. Embrace other people’s input and use it to give our clients the best possible solution. We are hugely detail conscious, but have to be acutely aware that we need to tailor what we say to our audience so being able to talk to anyone at any level is hugely valuable.

How much of the dotmailer platform is easily customizable and when does it cross over into something that requires your team’s expertise? How much time is spent on these custom solutions one-time or ongoing?

I’ll let you in on a little secret here. We don’t actually do anything that our customers can’t do with dotmailer given the right knowledge and resources. This is because we build all of our solutions using the dotmailer public API. The API has hundreds of methods in both SOAP and REST versions, which allows you to do a huge amount with the dotmailer platform. We do have a vast amount of experience and knowledge in the team so we may well be able to build a solution quicker than our customers. We are more than happy to help them and their development teams build a solution using us on a consultancy basis to lessen the steepness of the learning curve.

Our aim when building a solution for a customer is that it runs silently in the background and does what it should without any fuss.

What are your plans for the Custom Tech Solutions team going forward?

The great thing about Custom Technical Solutions is you never know what is around the corner as our customers have very diverse needs. What we are concentrating on at the moment is refining our processes to ensure that they are as streamlined as possible and allow us to give as much information to the customer as we can. We are also always looking at the technology and coding approaches that we use to make sure that we build the most innovative and robust solutions.

We are also looking at our external marketing and sharing our knowledge through blogs so keep an eye on the website for our insights.

What are the most common questions that you get when speaking to a prospective customer?

Most questions seem to revolve around reassurance such as “Have you done this before?”, “How safe is my data?”, “What about security?”, “Can you talk to my developers?”, “Do I need to do anything?”.  In most instances, we are the ones asking the questions as we need to find out information as soon as possible so that we can analyse it to ensure that we have the right detail to provide the right solution.

Can you tell us about the dotmailer differentiators you highlight when speaking to prospective customers that seem to really resonate?

We talk a lot about working with best of breed so for example a customer can use our Channel Extensions in automation programs to fire out an SMS to a contact using their existing provider. We don’t force customers down one route, we like to let them decide for themselves.

Also, I really like to emphasize the fact that there is always more than one way to do something within the dotmailer platform. This means we can usually find a way to do something that works for a client within the platform. If not, then we call in CTS to work out if there is a way that we can build something that will — whether this is automating uploads for a small client or mass sending from thousands of child accounts for an enterprise level one.

What do you see as the future of marketing automation technology?  Will one size ever fit all? Or more customization going forward?

The 64 million dollar question. One size will never fit all. Companies and their systems are too organic for that. There isn’t one car that suits every driver or one racquet that suits every sport. Working with a top drawer partner network and building our system to be as open as possible from an integration perspective means that our customers can make dotmailer mold to their business and not the other way round…and adding to that the fact that we are building lots of features in the platform that will blow your socks off.

Tell us a bit about yourself – favorite sports team, favorite food, guilty pleasure, favorite band, favorite vacation spot?

I’m a dyed in the wool Gooner (aka Arsenal Football Club fan) thanks to my Grandfather leading me down the right path as a child. If you are still reading this after that bombshell, then food-wise I pretty much like everything apart from coriander which as far as I’m concerned is the Devils own spawn. I don’t really have a favorite band, but am partial to a bit of Level 42 and Kings of Leon and you will also find me listening to 90s drum and bass and proper old school hip hop. My favorite holiday destination is any decent villa that I can relax in and spend time with my family and I went to Paris recently and loved that. Guilty pleasure – well that probably has to be confessing to liking Coldplay or the fact that my favorite sandwich is peanut butter, cheese and salad cream. Go on try it, you’ll love it.

Want to meet more of the dotmailer team? Say hi to Darren Hockley, Global Head of Support, and Dan Morris, EVP for North America.

Reblogged 2 years ago from blog.dotmailer.com