Can you walk us through your journey as an email marketer and what led to you being at Parcel?
As with most email marketers, my journey has been windy and indirect!
I started my email career at a small 3-person startup. This was a side job, primarily from 5-7 pm on weeknights after I got home from my 9-5.
My primary function as Operations Manager (a randomly assigned title that was inclusive of things far beyond my pay grade) was to build relationships. Specifically, to try to convert them to actions, using email as the medium.
The platform is Taski. We worked to pair part-time hospitality workers up with restaurants, banquets, and catering companies that needed one-off individual contractor staff. These “taskers” could pick up shifts at leisure.
When I joined, I was sending emails out individually and stumbled across a marketing automation tool that could be used to send event-triggered emails. Truly flabbergasted. So much time-saving! That’s when I began creating automated touchpoints, built out newsletter programs, and used email to promote both onboarding and shift activation.
I worked in that role for four years and then made my way over to the UK to join Braze as an Onboarding Manager. Working with clients across different industries, I was their dedicated point of contact for onboarding onto their new marketing automation tool.
I worked with a handful of clients to complete successful IP warmings, set up push notifications, and enable powerful real-time in-app messages, all while missing implementing strategy myself. It was an absolute blast working for Braze and one that felt like 4-years of learning packed into less than a year. However, I ended up moving back to Vancouver after a bout of homesickness.
Since then, I have bopped around in various in-house roles as an Email or Lifecycle Marketer.
What finally led me to work at Parcel was my online presence as an email marketer and consulting business that I built during the pandemic.
Although I worked on consulting projects before, the lockdown offered the time necessary to build a website, write about my email marketing experience, document tests, and save emails I’d previously created to build a portfolio.
With that, consulting projects began to come through via inquiries, and I worked on a lot of great email-related things from 2020 to now.
Between you and me, this was a great way to avoid spending money pointlessly, because the more time I spent on my couch, the more I would spend.
In January of 2022, I messaged Avi on Twitter to praise his work on Parcel and the platform he’d built. Although I classify myself as non-technical, I felt comfortable exploring code in Parcel thanks to some of the features. For instance, clear guidelines on what each line contributes to, how tags work together, and how HTML and CSS are be customized to design emails further.
During those first few conversations with Avi, we got into discussing the possibility of working together. Fast forward over a year later, and I’m now in a full-time role with Parcel, thanks to Customer.io acquiring it in late August of 2022!
As “Award Winning Email Marketer, Naomi West”, what makes you unique within the space?
Over the past seven years, I’ve had the opportunity to work behind the scenes at 2 ESPs, gain experience through my in-house marketing roles, and do consulting work.
This has allowed me to gather experience in over 25 ESPs.
I come with a unique skill set that isn’t a silo’d perspective of how things should be done, which makes me open to testing, new ways of working, and different strategies.
You’ve worked in two different countries, and have consulted for more – what are the biggest cultural differences to keep in mind when creating an email marketing campaign?
As a Canadian who has worked in the UK and remotely for US-based companies, I constantly lean on Grammarly to tell me what version of English to use when copywriting! I’m used to writing out “colour” and “favour” without u’s in my personal life and swapping z’s for s’s depending on the recipient country. It’s incredibly confusing, but I actively need to remember it when writing.
Another difference, but one that all brands should consider, is the jurisdiction that governs the world of email. GDPR, CAN-SPAM, CASL. They’re different between the three areas I’ve lived and worked in. I’ve been able to become an expert in all three (although, I am not a lawyer). And always keep them in mind as best practices (and legalities) when sending emails to different audiences.
What has changed since you first began working in the email marketing space?
More tools for the non-technical marketer. The emergence of no-code tools has allowed me to:
- Access and leverage data easier
- Set up webhooks
- Configure reports that influence my future strategy
I’m not just sending emails blindly and without personalization anymore! I can also create assets for emails easier with things like Canva and Figjam.
Although a lot of marketers joke that email has rarely changed. I think there’s been some great development in the email realm that make it a great space to work in!
In what ways do you think the tech space can better support and elevate diverse voices?
When sourcing speakers for Parcel Unpacked late last year, I tried to intentionally gather a group of individuals that weren’t those who appear in the same thought leadership articles year after year. Not saying that those individuals don’t have value, but I’m ready for some fresh perspectives!
One of my main takeaways was to look beyond the loudest voices in the room.
When connecting with individuals in the email space, I ask them questions about their own network. For instance, who do they look to for guidance, 1:1 mentorship, and who do they admire?
Maybe someone they look up to from a previous job.
I’m not looking for someone that is hyper-active on Twitter or runs a Youtube channel with 100k subscribers. Rather, someone who hasn’t had an interest in developing their voice as a persona.
In doing so, I’ve met some fantastic voices I wouldn’t have found just by browsing my Twitter feed.
As someone who has been on all sides of the email creation space, what problems has BEE Pro solved? What do you view as its best use cases? Do you pair it with any other tools?
At the beginning of my career, I was wearing many hats. Trying to learn HTML and CSS while doing all the other functions in my job was overwhelming. BEE Pro allowed me to build emails that I was proud of.
BEE Pro is a great tool for marketers juggling many roles and responsibilities at once. The ease of use allows creators to feel confident building emails without needing a background in HTML and CSS. This can be a scary hurdle to overcome when you’re wearing many other hats in your day-to-day! With any ESP, it can be easy to work with to launch communication quickly.
Where do you see email marketing in the next 5 years?
I hope to be able to complete a purchase from an “abandoned cart” email directly.
In the next five years, I hope email can eliminate the number of hoops I need to jump through to achieve the desired action.
It will benefit both the brand and the subscriber!
Can you share examples of the work that you’ve created inside of BEE Pro?
These emails were all created with BEE in my last role!
What are your best email creation/email campaign planning tips?
- Read copy out loud
- Check responsiveness on mobile
- Double-check all links
- Choose a larger font size instead of a smaller one
- Don’t be afraid to test!
I don’t believe benchmarks are one size fits all. Always test and try all ideas before determining what works and doesn’t work for your brand. Avoid always making inferences about “success” from case studies you read online.
Naomi West x BEE
We are honored to have the great, award-winning Email Marketer Naomi West as our first spotlight feature. She is also the Founder of Email Characters, a chrome extension to count your subject lines and preheaders.
Naomi has been using BEE Pro in her email marketing efforts for a few years. Her advocacy for the tool has helped us in our mission to democratize content design
For more on Naomi West x BEE, watch this webinar on “Creating Content As a Team: Advice From Expert Email Marketers.”
And, of course, follow Naomi on Instagram and Linkedin for more email marketing tips.
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