We just got back from Email Camp 2020
Email’s Not Dead: Season 2, Episode 5
We just got back from Email Camp 2020
Email's Not Dead
About this episode:
Eric and Jonathan are back with a brand new episode of Email’s Not Dead to recap the all-new Email Camp 2020 presented by Mailgun and Mailjet. This episode features Thomas Knierien, Email Camp Head Counselor and Mailgun Marketing Specialist, who gives a brief overview and shares what's in store for the future. Go to Youtube, look up a looping campfire video, maybe heat up some hot chocolate, put on some camp clothes, and listen to this recap.
Meet your presenters
Technical Account Manager at Mailgun by Sinch
Technical Account Manager at Mailgun by Sinch
Sr. Multimedia Specialist at Mailgun by Sinch
Email’s Not Dead – S2, E5: We just got back from Email Camp 2020
Eric Trinidad: Welcome the Email's Not Dead, your podcast or everything, email and email related toys, no, no toys, but my name is Eric Trinidad. I'm one of the technical account managers here, joined with Jonathan JT Torres and special guest, our resident camp counselor here this week. Thomas, what up, man? How are you?
Thomas Knierien: What's going on y'all?
Jonathan Torres: It's exciting to be back. It feels like it's been so long since we've done an episode. I'm just, I'm just happy to be here.
Eric Trinidad: Me too. Me too. It feels like you know, you just slide right back in like an old wooden shoe. You know, I wear clogs mostly guys, so, you know, it just, it just feels nice. It feels natural. You know, I'm excited. You know, we wanted to have this episode to kind of recap our inaugural camp sessions that we recently had and kind of go over some of the highlights. Jonathan and I, we did a couple of things. We had a couple of sessions that we were involved with. Thomas, you were there from go to not go to end. How was that man?
Thomas Knierien: Oh, man. It was, it was far out. We started at nine thirty and then went to, let's see, I think it was like twelve, twelve thirty maybe even one thirty?
Jonathan Torres: I think it was around one o'clock.
Thomas Knierien: Yeah, it was you know about eight hours of two days of streaming for email camp 2020, it was oh man, we had a blast. It was pretty dope.
Jonathan Torres: It was a lot of fun.
Eric Trinidad: But now that this was the first run, you know, was there anything you know that you wanted to do that you know, that we didn't get to do or is there, is there something that you wanted to see more of?
Thomas Knierien: I can't spoil the secrets, man. The one thing I will say, though, is virtual backgrounds are the most important top of mind feature factor for the next email camp. That's what I'm trying to do the most. Yeah.
Eric Trinidad: Oh, I didn't even think about that. Yeah. We should have had some kind of lake or something serene you know, in our backdrop.
Thomas Knierien: We were trying to do that. I was trying to actually have a fire pit in my backyard and we were trying to stream. But in Texas, the day we actually started to stream, it rained so it wasn't going to happen.
Eric Trinidad: Yeah. Did you have to, like, scribble like what a fire pit would look like and put that behind you or.
Thomas Knierien: Oh man, I think I had like an eight hour campfire stream that I had on the side that no one saw. It was just there for myself.
Eric Trinidad: You forgot to show it to people. You're just like, this is nice.
Thomas Knierien: And then by the end of email camp it was still going. I was like, oh, okay.
Jonathan Torres: No, that's there to keep your hands warm, you know, like after the fact. And every time you wanted to look over to it, you could just go over and warm your hands a little bit, I'm sure.
Eric Trinidad: Yeah. You know, warm up some little virtual marshmallows.
Thomas Knierien: Speaking of s'mores, you know, we had you know, some head counselors come over from the Blue Shift camp, we would like to call it, from one of our partners. They had a great topic on omni channel marketing to reach your audience. And everyone knows Blue Shift... the smart hub CDP, so those guys are great. And then we had another session from VWO talking about ventures and experiment led growth. You know, strategizing to optimize your conversions and talking about email marketing truly impacts, you know, your user experience and stuff like that. Another good session that we had as well, my buddy Nick Lafferty. You guys are my buddies as well. You guys are super important. Okay, y’all are my favorite.
Jonathan Torres: Thank you, thank you Thomas.
Thomas Knierien: Don't ever forget that.
Jonathan Torres: Makes me feel good.
Eric Trinidad: Well, he's your favorite buddy because I'm pretty sure, day of you know, I was one of your favorite buddies. Jonathan wasn't though.
Jonathan Torres: I did not get mentioned as a favorite buddy. But that's okay, it's okay. I forgive him. You know, sometimes you're caught up in the moment. You are trying to deliver on being a good camp counselor and introduce all these sessions and somebody gets left behind. That was me this time.
Thomas Knierien: We just work with so many good people. Come on.
Jonathan Torres: We do, we do, that I'll gladly agree to.
Eric Trinidad: I think we have such an intimate company like everybody really does, like know each other. We hang out very often, you know, outside of work. And, you know, when you're just with all these great people, you just tell them on the regular, like what great people they are. And, of course they know you're their favorite. So, Jonathan, don't feel bad. You're still one of Thomas's favorites.
Thomas Knierien: You're still my favorite, JT.
Jonathan Torres: I mean, I'm not going to say it didn't hurt in the moment, but, you know, I'm over it now.
Jonathan Torres: Yeah. He called me right after and was just like, guess what Thomas did?
Thomas Knierien: This is also a shout-out to Nick Schafer as well, because I know he's going to listen and then he's going to be like I thought I was your favorite. You're still my favorite ,Nick. Everyone's my favorite.
Eric Trinidad: They're like your kids.
Jonathan Torres: If you don't know Nick Schafer. Like, he's on a previous episode of Email’s Not Dead. So you should look up which episode. I can't remember which one it is, but it's one of the ones from last year. And man, that guy is awesome, we need to have him back soon.
Eric Trinidad: Yeah. Our resident deliverability daddy. So, you know. It'd be nice to have him back on the podcast.
Thomas Knierien: Oh yeah. Speaking of one more last favorite dude. Yeah. Nick Lafferty from the Growth Marketing Team. He had a great growth hacking section. Just asking your customers questions, test everything. You know, reviews are tough, but, you know, they're worth it. And then my favorite session, you guys know that I'm a huge follower of meditation and mindfulness and stuff like that. So we had Matthew Smith. Over from Really Good Emails. Super cool guy, he was talking about, you know, just improving your relationships with your recipients, you know, with an email and just kind of acknowledging, you know, your recipient stories and understanding where they're coming from, especially right now with everything going on. And this, I hate to say it, but this new normal, we got to call it the new normal. Yeah. Overall, it was a lot of good sessions and we had a super awesome time. And we're getting ready for next spring. It's coming back.
Jonathan Torres: Yeah. So is this going to be like a two year for or like is like once a year, we can do a spring and a summer session?
Thomas Knierien: As of right now, we're talking about spring session, you know, right before summer starts and then maybe like a summer fall session. It could change. But as of right now that's where we're at.
Eric Trinidad: So, you know, a lot of stuff kicked off. You know, we had two days of marketing and we had a technical day. Jonathan and I were, you know, had our sessions on the technical day. So we did get to see a whole lot of other stuff. But as far as like, the stuff that we did, you know, I think we did pretty well.
Thomas Knierien: Y'alls stuff was amazing. Let's talk about y'alls stuff. Y'alls stuff is great.
Jonathan Torres: Well first before we move into our stuff, like, man, I just got to say, like, it's great to see, I don't know. For me, it was awesome to see that there's a movement into doing this kind of stuff because it really felt like all year I feel very grateful that the marketing side of Mailgun and that has allowed us to be out there and participate in the email world. Right. So whenever there are conferences, whenever there is, you know, different things around the development community without, you know, through email community, there is opportunity for us to go out there. And with this year being so locked down and covid-19 happening and just being in a different situation, it was great to be on a virtual platform and doing this fun stuff with everybody that was involved because, man, just to be able to have it to be able to have these conversations is so amazing. So first of all, for the first day, for the marketing day, is that still available on the platform that it was before or is that somewhere else? So they can go check it out if anybody missed out?
Thomas Knierien: Yeah, if you signed up for any of the days for the marketing day or the technical day, if you go back to that link that we sent you, you can watch the marketing day from the livestorm link that we sent out. And same for the tech day. You just have to go back to those landing pages and click access to webinar, click that blue button and then you'll be able to watch them. And then we're also chopping up the sections so we can send those out to our viewers and everyone can look at those and kind of, you know, get all those good recaps and key takeaways because, you know, we want you, we want everyone to become a better sender no matter what. So, yeah, those are definitely coming out ASAP.
Eric Trinidad: Yeah, if anybody had any problems with that or anything, do they have anywhere they can contact? Can they just hit up like firstname.lastname@example.org?
Thomas Knierien: You can hit me up at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or mailjet.com. And definitely we're going through some of those questions as well from some of those sessions to make sure that, you know, that we got you answered and taken care of and stuff like that. So, yeah, yeah. You can reach us out through there.
Jonathan Torres: And I'm sure there'll be links to a lot of the stuff in the description for this episode. So be sure to check that out. That way you have, you know, somewhere to kind of guide you into what this is. But yes. So marketing is one of the things, technical day is the other thing. So we're not going to talk about all the panels that happen on technical day. For that, I'd say look for the links in the description. That way you can check out and see exactly what happened that day, watch the sessions and it's got a ton of great information. And what we're doing here is basically just a quick recap of some of the stuff is in particular the ones that we were involved with. Right. So the STO panel that Eric was involved with and the deliverability trivia that I was involved with, which is fun, it was a little bit less trivia, a little bit more of let's just get some information out there. So we'll go over that in just a second. So first thing like Eric, what do you think? STO. How was it? Was it fun? Any key takeaways from that?
Eric Trinidad: Yeah, I mean, I was with Chris Farmer and if you haven't heard from him before, he was on our STO episode back in season two, you know, and if you get a chance to definitely check it out, a lot of great same information there. But just kind of like just reiterating the fact of, you know, these products are still here. You know, they're here for you. They're another tool for your tool belt just to kind of help you, you know, find a way, you know, and determine what is the best time to send email and the magic of it, because it really is like it's no like one quick fix or anything like that. And STO and TZO, Send Time Optimization and time zone optimization are just there to help you just make your current sends better. You know, you're already following best practices. You already have great calls to action. You have engagement, you're already inboxing and this is going to help you figure out like, okay, do I send them all in the morning? Do I schedule out throughout the day? You know, how does this all work? But with these tools, it takes that guesswork out of it for you. It'll just say like, oh, okay well, Jonathan opens up his messengers at nine a.m. Let me send it at that time where Eric sees it in the afternoon or Thomas late in the evening, you know, when he finally rolls out of bed, you know, whenever that is so, you know.
Jonathan Torres: Man, that's a jab.
Thomas Knierien: Whoa, whoa, whoa, i'm a seven a.m. guy for the record.
Jonathan Torres: You've got to get up early to start that meditation process. You can't just roll out of bed.
Eric Trinidad: I mean, you're up at seven, but you don't actually wake up until like nine.
Thomas Knierien: Eric, I'm going to start waking you up early. Actually, no, you are online when I’m online.
Eric Trinidad: Yeah man you can hit me up any time. I'd love to do some meditation with you. So, yes, it's just kind of going down what this all does, how you can get it started and just kind of explaining a little bit more about how this tool works and how people can get started and engage with it, you know, so it was great. If you get a chance, please check it out. Chris Farmer goes into a lot of great detail. So, yeah, I think it was a great session. What about you, Jonathan? How was your session?
Jonathan Torres: Oh, man. I got so many things from our session. It was a fun session. Like it was really cool. So it was Kate. I'm going to mess up her last name if I even try. Help me out. Thomas, I know you can help me out on this one.
Thomas Knierien: Kate this is a shout-out to you, Nowrouzi. Another common VIP guest.
Jonathan Torres: Yeah. She's been on, we already talked about Nick Schafer, who was also part of the panel, and Neil Kumaran. So from the Google side. So we had a really fun session. I think we just try to make it entertaining and really was coming from the side of people... have always had questions about deliverability. What's the best way to do things? You know, the best practices. When do they come in and how do those things work? You know, the way that email works, I think sometimes is just like, I don't know, how does it work? That's what we kind of wanted to put in front of everybody. And I don't know, we had fun explaining that. So I know since we had the expert in-house at that time and right. For the panel, we went right to Neil and asked, you know, straight up like what we thought about the Google folders and the questions we normally get, because I know I've definitely heard, you know, a million times that the promotions folder equals the spam folder. Am I being punished for email going into the promotions folder? And the answer was false. You know, it's not true. It's a system that Google has built out. And it was, you know, great hearing straight from Neil, that's designed to filter out certain emails and it's designed to work a particular way. So we've got to get the users, you've got to embrace it, embrace the system and embrace the fact that it's working as it's supposed to. So email is going there. Let it be there, let it be there, embrace it and teach. If anything, you need to teach your customers like, hey, you might end up in the promotion folder because it is a promotional email. And that's where, you know, if it goes there, the rules are set up that way, the filters are set up that way. And it's a good thing it's Google and Gmail filtering it out in a way that their customers expect that email to be filtered out. So they should expect that email there and you should see it and you should expect it in there and, you know, embrace it, embrace the key features that you can offer, because there's some cool features within that, which I don't think we're going to go into because we have we don't have that much time to go over some of that stuff. But there's definitely some key features that you can use within that promotional side of things to really make your email pop and stand out and do some fun stuff. So maybe that's a future episode. Maybe stay tuned and we'll talk about it at some point. Go ahead Thomas, sounds like you got something to add.
Thomas Knierien: We're an ESP right? And those guys are the ISP, so it's nice to hear directly from the mouth of the ISP just to figure out, okay, you know, what's going on with this organization of, you know, the promotional tab because we get that question all the time. I saw yesterday, again, like I pulled up the blog posts send it out, but it's such a common thing. So it's like when you finally get to hear from the ISP. Aw man, it’s gold.
Jonathan Torres: Yeah it's really, it's super nice. It's super nice that we got, you know, somebody again coming over here and really explaining that and talking about that. And then really the one thing to continue with that one subject for just a second is that we got confirmation that we really shouldn't be trying to circumvent that filtering process. So I know that's another thing that we heard, and that's one of the things that, you know, kind of comes up every once in a while in conversation where people are like, hey, it's going into that folder. How can I get around that? What do I need to do? How do I need to change my email so that it doesn't go into those folders? And the answer is that you shouldn't do that, because if you start to start circumventing that, if the algorithms get messed up, if there's something that happens that you change your email on and it's not embraced the way you think it's going to be embraced, you can end up in a lot worse place. You can end up in the actual spam folder or things can be missed. Or, you know, there's a lot of other things that can happen. There's a lot of things that can break along in the process. So you don't want to do things to try to get around that, to try to sneak around that filtering process because it's there for a reason. So, you know, embrace it and live with it, do the right thing and it's good. So that was a really fun conversation. It was just one of the key points because we kept coming around to that like, you know, it felt like in a few different questions where we collected these questions that everybody has. The other thing that was a common theme is that there's no magic numbers. Like I know there's things that we talked about in that session about, you know, I have my wish lists of stuff. I wish there was some stuff that I could just wish for and it would come true. Ideally, it would be the end of spam and the end of, you know, like phishing, you know, like is one of the things that I think I put on my wishlist during the episode. But, ah, during that email camp session, there are some things that are not going to happen. There's also magic numbers that are probably never going to happen. So one of them was kind of marketing best practice, you know, like maybe keeping your email subject lines to a certain length or a particular length or maybe that can help. The truth is, when it comes to deliverability, that doesn't exist. There's no magic number. There's no magic formula that's going to make it so that your emails pop in a certain way or that you're going to bypass spam filters or even just following CAN-SPAM compliance is not going to magically make it so that your email, gets into the inbox, or that you don't get marked as spam because there's a lot of variables that happen in a lot of things in play that happen. And really the best thing is just to follow the best practices. Right. So instead of finding a magic number, finding a particular section, to hit, finding a particular subject line count to hit, you know, there's different things that happen along the way. There's different filters that happened along the way. But there's no magic way to just get around that or a magic number to do that. Even when we talk about warm ups, there's no magic number for warm ups. It's just a matter of slowly building that traffic, slowly building that reputation, you know, doing the right things, doing the best practices, making sure you're paying attention to your audience and what they want to hear from you, and then taking that information and bundling it up and using your best judgment from all that information to be the best sender you can be. And that's the way you're going to get into the inbox. That's the way you're going to keep performing well, that's the way you can get the most ROI over email, because there are so many things that are in place. Don't just try to find one magic thing to fix everything. So, yeah, it was good stuff. I know I oversimplify it and I over, you know, just generalized a lot of these answers. Oh, well, I mean, it's just like, you know, because there's so much nuance into that. And really it's just extrapolating I think a little bit on the answers and a little bit of, you know, a little bit behind the scenes conversations that we had to you, because when we were doing prep work for this, you know, we're throwing around common questions, things that people come up with all the time. So like, let's find out what it is, what the answers are. And then, you know, we went into the panel ready to share that information out and as much as we could within the limited time that we had. So, yeah, there was definitely good conversation. I would say there's a lot more good information in the panel. So check that out. But I just wanted to bring key things over here to reiterate them or explain them, give a little bit behind the scenes and give everybody opportunity to listen in on that, because it was such good conversation and it was such good discussion on what these things are, how email behaves and performs, because we're all interested in that. I think anybody who's listening to this, I don't think they're saying like, hey, it's just a fun podcast to listen to. Maybe, I'm not going to judge you for it if you're just listening to us just to listen to us. But there's so much good information out there and we all want to get a little piece of it to do better email and send better email and to be received better. And I just wanted to bring that information this way because people are interested and I know people want it and I can try my best to bring some of it. You know, I study this stuff like I think every day. I think most of us hear that, you know, especially within Mailgun, obviously, it's our job. So we're studying it all the time. We're looking at it all the time where we're paying attention to what people are doing. We're paying attention to what works, what doesn't work, and then trying to build the best practices that we can out of that, not to you again, try to circumvent rules or change things or get bypass filters. It's more like let's hit the right audience. Let's spend our money wisely. Let's concentrate wisely and get the people that are going to be engaged and the ones that are going to give you that return, because that's what matters at the end of the day. You know, all the stuff is, you know, one way or the other, it's good. It's bad. But there's definitely best practices that stand out. And that's what we need to do. And I think that's one of the things. I mean, you even finish your session with that, right, Eric?
Eric Trinidad: Yeah.
Jonathan Torres: Best practices, that's what you got to do.
Eric Trinidad: Yeah. No, I think it's really great that that's exactly what we preach all the time. And we tell our customers on the daily what they're doing as far as what they need to do is, you know, with their messages for them to be successful and to have him come on and reiterate that fact and explain like this is what we're seeing. This is how our algorithm works. This is how, you know, this is just how it is, you know, and this is and just putting that concrete information in there is great. You know, it's reaffirming to the message that we send every day.
Thomas Knierien: And because it's such an art and science, it really is. We talk about it all the time and we use that term playfully. But it really is an art and science to deliverability. I mean, the best way I can describe it, as you see that gif of the octopus, like literally trying to do a thousand things, trying to get on send.
Jonathan Torres: Yeah, I know. And it is. And I wish it was like just these couple of things where like these two tokens is all that we had to take and that's what we could do, you know, and mixed maybe some STO and, you know, some good marketing practices. And then that's it. It's over. But it isn't like it's an everyday thing. It's an everyday piece of work that you've got to come in here. You got to look at the stuff. You got to look at the data and really put some work in. And you can get great results by doing that. And it isn't as simple as just pushing a button or doing a few different settings. It's something that you have to look at. You have to analyze. You have to put effort into it and then mix those best practices. And man at that point, it can be magical.
Eric Trinidad: Yeah, because it just works right?
Jonathan Torres: You can get really good. Yeah.
Thomas Knierien: Here's a magic number question I got for y'all. Is there a magic number to how many emojis you can fit into the subject line? That's a good one.
Jonathan Torres: I don't think there is.
Eric Trinidad: I don't know. Would that be misleading? Would they be misleading the subject lines then?
Jonathan Torres: Well, I mean, like that's, that's one of the things, again, we talked about on the panel, like it's one of those things that there isn't necessarily a magic number. There isn't necessarily a magic practice, you know, in that instance, like, should you put emojis in there? Should you not? Should you put in 10 emojis, or should you put in one, there's not an answer that's direct, it's one of those things that, you know, some filters don't really care about that stuff. Most filters aren't even going to see what exactly your subject line is. They're going to care about what the content of that is and then what the recipients do with it. If your recipients aren't expecting emojis and then all of a sudden you send them 15 emojis in a subject line, they're all going to be like, I don't know if that's really from them. Let me delete that first and then see what happens. You know, it's one of those things that you have to know who you're talking to. You have to know your audience. You have to know your behaviors. You have to know what they're expecting from you and then use all that is part of the analytical process that you're doing when you're building an email and then that's what you want to send out.
Thomas Knierien: That was a point that was, I would say, that was stressed on the tech day from Jamie Smith, Modernize, from even Matthew Smith from Really Good Emails and everyone. They were saying, utilize the data. If you have the data, utilize it, because that's going to help no matter what, build their relationship with your customers, your viewers and stuff like that. It's like if you have that data, why not use it, it's there. Use it.
Jonathan Torres: Yes, yes, yes. Exactly.
Eric Trinidad: All right. Well, then what have we got next?
Thomas Knierien: Twenty twenty-one, email camp. We're talking about springtime, so be on the lookout for that. Check that out, you know, follow us on Mailgun on Twitter, Mailjet on Twitter, follow our blogs, both sides. Mailgun, Mailjet, our LinkedIn. All of it on our YouTube pages. Subscribe and hit that like button.
Jonathan Torres: Yes!
Eric Trinidad: Yes!
Thomas Knierien: But yeah. Just be on the look out, if you did get the survey, let us know your feedback because we're always trying to make it the best event that we can because we don't know how much longer this new normal is going to last. So you know what? Let's, let's get wild and weird with our virtual events because what else are we going to do?
Jonathan Torres: Well, not only for that. I mean, maybe there is a you know, if there's enough of an audience for this, I'm sure that we'll keep doing this even after we'll get back into in-person stuff. I mean, we can mix it in with in person and virtual like later on down the line. Now that we have this experience, now that we know, like, let's do it, but we need that feedback. We need that audience if we're going to do it. So definitely we're listening to it here, check it out, you know, check out links to the blog posts that are going to be in the description. Check out the links to social media that will be there as well. And that way you have all that information and at your fingertips, you can easily get that information to you. You know, you subscribe to the newsletter or about email, check the email, you know, so like give that information. And that way, you know, you stay up to date with what we're doing, what's going on when new episodes of the podcast itself drop. And that way you can kind of be in there. And we'd love to hear information from you. Right. If we're taking questions on that side, we'll definitely bring them in here and try to answer some of those as well, just like we've got in a little bit further discussion from email camp points, you know, on this episode. But the quick recap for you guys, we appreciate everybody who's listening right now. Come back again, please. Like it. And we would love to have more discussion. I know one of the things that we got coming up next or soon ish, you know, is going to be the the whole discussion on warm up, which is a broad discussion. I just want to say it's a broad topic so we don't get into details here. But that's definitely what's coming next.
Thomas Knierien: And it's going to be a spooky topic as well.
Eric Trinidad: Well, exciting stuff all the way around. Thanks again everybody. Thanks again to all our presenters and all of our guests. You know, we really appreciate you coming out. Hopefully we get to have you all again on either this podcast or our next camp session. That'd be really great to have you all back. Thank you, Thomas, our resident camp counselor, for joining us today. Appreciate you and your time. And thank you, Jonathan, for being here as well. And thank you, me, for talking with y'all today. Yes, I appreciate that, thank you Thomas.
Thomas Knierien: Thank you Eric, thank you.
Eric Trinidad: Well, until next time, please stay safe. And thanks again for joining us.