If you've ever done marketing for a SaaS company, you know that it's different from any other type of marketing. How can you effectively market something that your customers can't touch and feel? Or how about marketing something that is constantly changing? If you've ever wanted to become an expert at project management, communication, and storytelling, a SaaS company is the perfect place to be.
This act is constantly multiplying with requests and fires and meetings, and while it may sound overwhelming to some, it's actually surprisingly fun! All of the teams are constantly busy keeping the wheels turning, and there are always new and exciting campaigns happening that requires all hands on deck. My small part of this big puzzle happens to be that of the email marketing manager.
In a nutshell, I am responsible for planning, developing, implementing and maintaining the overall email marketing strategy. This includes demand generation, marketing automation, B2B content, template development, copywriting — and much, much more.
So what exactly does a typical day look like for me?
A Typical Day
[7:00 – 7:30am]
With coffee in hand, the first thing I do every morning is to check Hubspot. In order to stay on top of my workload, I will usually block this time off in my calendar and ignore my inbox to ensure that yesterday's campaign went out as expected. When doing email marketing campaigns, there are a few things I look at before anything else to determine whether a campaign was successful or not:
Did my email go out at the right time, to the right audience?
How successful was the email’s call-to-action?
Were there any issues with the email? And if so, what happened?
Since emails provide a direct line of communication with our audience, they can be highly effective when things work as planned. However, if they don’t work out as planned, my errors are seen by every customer and prospect that opens the email. What works for me is to have QA process per campaign, to ensure that 99% of the time everything goes off without a hitch.
After I've made sure that my email did in fact make it out of Hubspot successfully, I check to see how the CTA for that particular email performed. Whether it's registration for a webinar or a link to schedule a demo or start a trial, I want to see how many people are clicking through the CTA to fill out the form.
On this particular day, our campaign was not wildly successful, as not a lot of leads had filled out the form...
With my second cup of coffee in hand, I put on my analytics cap. Since I thought we had a really compelling piece of content that our carefully segmented audience would be interested in, I want to figure out why it's not performing as well as intended.
The first thing I typically check is the email itself to make sure all of the links are working properly. Of course, this was already verified in the QA and approval process before the email was ever sent out, but there could be problems with the URL, the landing page could be down, the form could be broken, or maybe the CTA simply wasn't strong enough.
And sure enough, everything is working as it should. Clearly there must be something else going on...
The next thing I check are the metrics, more specifically, the click-through rate (CTR) and unsubscribe rate. Typically, if I see a high CTR and high amounts of unsubscribes when emailing prospects, this can be an indicator that perhaps the content wasn't as relevant to our audience as expected. If that's the case, we might want to consider swapping out that piece of content or finding a different audience if we still want to promote it.
On the other hand, if it's a high CTR and low amounts of unsubscribes, there might be something on the landing page that doesn't quite resonate with our audience, and they just didn't want to fill out the form.
This type of research and documentation can take up a good chunk of my day without me even realizing it. I present a weekly report of all of our email campaigns with these metrics, so I put everything together as well as my thoughts about how we can improve for the next campaign, and before I know it, it's lunchtime. But before I go and reheat last night's dinner, I check my inbox and Slack, and I see two separate messages. The first one 1) an email request that needs to go out ASAP and the second one 2) a headcount of webinar registrants for an upcoming webinar.
Luckily, I've created an email marketing request form that integrates directly with Asana which makes managing the request, well, manageable - even if the timeline is ASAP. I check the request and make sure all of the required assets are supplied, and then I get to work.
What's awesome about being an email marketer is the freedom that comes with it. I will often have full control over email design and layout, all while still staying within brand guidelines, of course. So while I still have to follow a certain process, it's an opportunity to be creative when setting up the workflow, setting new parameters with active lists, and ensuring the email reads well.
I try to complete the request I know I can do the fastest, and send it off for review and approval so it can go out at a reasonable time.
Time for another coffee. I'm working with a pretty solid tech stack that is heavily utilized, so there are bound to be issues. However, if you're like me, you can view these problems not only as challenging, but also fun to work through and figure out.
Without getting too much into the nitty-gritty, often times trying to solve what's gone wrong starts with analyzing the contact log in HubSpot for some records that may be affected, going through some lead investigation to make sure everything is passing through properly, or even something as simple as making sure form fields are visible across our landing pages.
This part of my day involves coming up with many different solutions, and then trying to find out if they're doable or not.
[4:00 – 4:30pm]
As I begin to wind down for the day, I find myself coming back to the first thing I asked myself in the morning:
Did my email go out correctly, at the right time? Yes!
How successful was the email’s call-to-action? Not as successful as I thought, but going to make some changes and experimentation to do better for the next send.
Are there any issues with the email? And if so, what happened?
And what about the last question? Maybe there weren't any issues brought up, so that's a good thing. No SPAM complaints or broken links or unsubscribes in emails is always a good thing, especially when presenting numbers upwards. 9/10 times I did my job correctly 👏
I would consider days like this a win, and with a new email waiting to go out the next day, I can only hope to have another day like this.
What I love most about my role is the unique opportunity it offers to be both creative and analytical at the same time. I don't think there is a magical formula for doing email marketing, rather it's a long game of experimentation and using what resonated best to create new, amazing email marketing campaigns.
Christian Baun is an email marketing specialist with a background in demand generation, content marketing and marketing automation.