As an email marketing manager, there are three different thoughts I wake up with in the morning (actually, the appropriate term should be “anxiety-ridden, stress-induced worries”) — but you get the point:

  • Did my email go out correctly, at the right time?
  • How successful was the email’s call-to-action?
  • Are there any issues with the email? And if so, what happened?

Okay, those are technically 4 thoughts, but they all carry equal weight in my mind.

Since emails provide a direct line of communication with our customers and prospects, they can be highly effective when things work as planned. However, if they don’t work out as planned, it’s a highly visible uh-oh that’s on display for the entire world to see. Needless to say, the above concerns are expected, but it’s also expected that an email marketer is fiercely meticulous and detail-oriented.

While this role may seem like a stressful job that most people would shy away from, it also offers a unique opportunity to be both creative and analytical at the same time, which can appeal to almost anyone.

A Typical Day

How, you ask? Allow me to walk you through my day and explain:

[7:30 – 8:00am]

I get into the office and check Marketo. Contrary to how mostly everyone else’s day goes where they check their inbox first, as an email marketer, I check Marketo to verify the first thought in my head.

Typical thought:

“Okay, so let’s check and make sure things didn’t go horribly awry. It didn’t? Awesome.”

99% of the time, this is the same repetitive reaction to any email I’ve set-up to go out. Since email marketing is very much driven by process, once you have a process down, it becomes clockwork, and my first worry of the day subsides.


After I verify that my email indeed made it out of Marketo successfully, I check to see how the call-to-action for that particular email performed. If it’s a content download or a registration for a webinar, I want to see how many people are clicking through the CTA to fill out the form:

Typical thought:

“How come we don’t have that many downloads right now? Let me check to see what’s going on.”


Since I thought we had a really compelling piece of content that I thought our carefully segmented audience would be interested in, I’m curious why it’s not performing as well as intended.

The first thing I would check is the email itself to make sure the links are working properly. Clearly, this should have been verified during the review and approval process before the email even was sent out, but sometimes there could be errors with the URL, the website could be down, some coding could have broken on the landing page or the form, and you wouldn’t know this until you checked.

Typical thought:

“I checked this link 10x last night — there’s no way it’s not working today. Should I have checked it an 11th time?!”

Sure enough, the link is still working and the form is still submitting properly. It must be something else going on.


The next thing I check are the metrics, more specifically, the click-through (CTR) and unsubscribe rate. If it’s a high CTR and high amounts of unsubscribes, that tells me that maybe the content wasn’t as relevant to our audience as expected. We might want to consider changing out that piece of content or finding a different audience if we still want to promote that asset.

But if it’s a high CTR with a low unsubscribe rate, maybe there’s something on the landing page that doesn’t quite resonate, and they don’t want to proceed to fill out the form. Many times this just has to do with the fact that our content is gated, and filling out a form can seem like an extra chore.

Typical thought:

“Maybe we should ungate this asset –”


This type of investigation and research can take up a good chunk of my day without me even realizing it. Before I know it, it’s lunchtime, and I’m thinking about enjoying a hearty meal to reinvigorate my brain for the second part of my day. But before I do that, I check my inbox, and I see two separate emails. This first one 1) an email request that needs to go out ASAP and the second one 2) a little note that something isn’t working properly between Marketo and SFDC.

Typical thought:

“Welp, looks like I’m eating at my desk again today.”


As mentioned before, once you do these enough times, an email request isn’t so daunting, even when the timeline is ASAP. I check the request to make sure all of the required assets are supplied, and then I get to work.

The amount of freedom you have as an email marketer to be creative with any email request can be vast or limited, depending on how your templates are built. While I still have to follow a certain process, my creativity can be leveraged when thinking about how to set-up a drip campaign or nurture, or even how to pull the correct smart list.

I knock off the request I know I can complete the quickest, and send off for review and approval as quickly as I can.

Typical thought:

“For the Smart List, is it an ‘AND’ statement or an ‘OR’ statement? Or is it both?”


When you work with highly complex systems like Marketo and SFDC and utilize them the way we do here at SparkPost, there are bound to be issues. However, if you’re like me, you can view these problems as not only 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 going haywire starts with analyzing the activity log in Marketo for some records that might be affected, going through some global lead scoring campaigns to make sure leads are passing through properly, or even something as simple as making sure the correct form is on the right landing page. This part of my day involves coming up with many different hypotheses, and then trying to find out if they’re true or not.

Typical thought:

“Is the sync just slow, and do I need to be more patient? Probably.”

[4:00 – 4:30pm]

As I approach the end of my day, it’s time to make sure I answered my initial morning thoughts:

  • Did my email go out correctly? Yes.
  • How successful was the email call-to-action? Not as successful as originally thought, but going to make some changes so hopefully it does better for the next send.
  • Are there any issues with the email? And if so, what happened?

Wait — I didn’t even address the third question throughout my day. Maybe it’s because there weren’t any issues brought up, and that’s a good thing. No issues about spam or broken links or unsubscribes in emails is always a good thing. It means I did 90% of my job correctly.

Days like this one can be what a typical day looks like for an email marketer. This day would be considered a win to an email marketer like myself, and with a new email in review waiting to go out the next day, here’s hoping it’s another day just like this.


— Jenna Quilalang
Email Marketing Manager

Beyond the click blog footer 600x150 unsubscribers

Over the years it has become evident that there’s a major disconnect between email senders (email marketers) and ISPs on how engagement is measured. There is not one single engagement metric. In fact, marketers are not privy to the metrics that receivers collect and receivers don’t have access to sender data. Where marketers are interested in opens and clicks, an ISP is more interested in complaints, deletes, and spam designations.

As email marketers it is important for us to understand the positive and negative signals an ISP sees as an engagement. For example, if a recipient moves your email from the spam/junk folder to their Inbox, that’s viewed as a positive signal. But if they delete the message without opening or reading it, that’s considered a negative signal.

ISPs want marketers to understand more than just recognizing positive and negative signals. View the abridged slide show below or download our eBook on 9 Things ISPs Really Want Email Senders to Know.

What ISPs Really Want Email Senders To Know


Building your brand’s online presence should be an ongoing responsibility for every employee, but let’s admit it. When you’re running around and trying to put out fires at work every day, finding something to tweet about can often be a secondary priority, unless you’re a social media manager.

Well, here’s a solution you can consider: Subscribe to our email marketer list on Twitter! We’ve put together a list of the most eminent email marketers out there based on this post by @billmccloskey

1) Simply visit and hit Subscribe

Message Systems Email Marketer Twitter List

Congrats, you now have instant access and a glimpse into the minds of email thought leaders everywhere! Retweet the best tweets on your stream or edit and then tweet your own unique spin on a hot topic of discussion!

2) While you can access the list from the Me tab on your Twitter account, or by visiting, it’s probably much easier to create a stream for it with a social media management platform like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck.

Email Marketer Twitter List on Tweetdeck
Create a Stream on Tweetdeck
Email Marketers Twitter List on Hootsuite
Create a stream on Hootsuite

And there you have it – a steady stream of inspiration for tweets, blog posts and conversations with other email marketers like yourself. If you’d like to be on our email marketer Twitter list, let us know – we’re constantly growing it. And last but not least, if you’re not already connected to @Message Systems, follow us today!


Why are we the global leader in digital messaging technology? It’s because we understand email better than anyone else. Our clients are a who’s who list of Fortune 500 companies and international brands like Facebook, Twitter, US Airways, PayPal, LinkedIn and Groupon. Find out how we help clients get into their customers’ inbox when you watch The Keys to Deliverability Success webinar.

Keys To Deliverability Success Webinar

The goal of any email marketer is to get email delivered to inbox and not get blocked at the ISP gateway or diverted to the spam folder. What makes this so challenging is the very high volume of spam traffic on the Internet, and the spam filters put in place by ISPs. But while priority #1 for email marketers is getting messages to the inbox, ISPs have far different priorities. In fact, of the top 10 priorities for ISPs, taking care of the concerns of email marketers comes in around #11. (more…)