Interview 4 - Fiona Robson

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Interview with Fiona Robson – Transcription

Kate       Hi, I’m Kate Barrett, the founder of Shine a Light Media and the Email Marketing Academy, and welcome to the next in our series of interviews with everyone from entrepreneurs to fellow email marketing experts where we will be finding out how they use email in their business to give you inspiration in your own work. Our guest today is Fiona Robson. Fiona is the managing director at Rocket Seed, and a fellow Direct Marketing Association Email Council member and will be talking to us about something a little bit different today. Welcome Fiona, thank you so much for agreeing to be interviewed.


Fiona     It’s a pleasure.


Kate       So Fiona, do you want to introduce yourself a little bit more, and Rocket Seed and what you guys do.


Fiona     Sure, Rocket Seed is an email media and marketing company. We’re based internationally, we’ve got offices in the UK, the US, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and basically we help companies get more out of email in general, so both their email marketing but more specifically their email media, which is what we are going to talk about today.


Kate       Absolutely, so tell us a little bit more about email media because this could be a term that a lot of our listeners haven’t come across before. We usually talk about email marketing, but what’s a brief introduction for us to email media and how does it differ from email marketing?


Fiona     Email marketing is a platform that helps you manage mass communications. So you’ve got your database, you do your nice designs and you send them out and measure it. Email media is about the non-automated emails that a business sends. These are emails sent by people, employees in the company, as they go about their daily work, so as they’re talking to customers, as their trying to get new business, as they’re talking to partners and email media helps companies use those emails as a marketing tool, not just the email marketing newsletters to the database.


Kate       So it’s really about one to one communications rather than the mass communications that email marketing deals with.


Fiona     Exactly. Before the only marketing opportunity in those kind of emails was a basic email signature but with email media it’s taken that really to the next level. We enable you to do a lot of cool stuff with those emails, different links which we can explore in a minute if you like, which really helps you add personalised targeted messaging to those emails, not just as static email signature, so you can make sure that even in those communications you are able to track the engagement that clients are having with you and your company.


Kate       So basically the possibilities are endless in terms of what you can serve up in those individual communications, and again a lot of our listeners will be sending out emails to prospects, to people that they are looking at doing partnerships with and they will have their static email signature, as you’ve said. This allows them to really take it one step further and get more out of those communications that they are sending anyway and they’re the most targeted, they’re one on one and it’s that conversation. That’s sounds fantastic because historically in those types of messages there is no view on what happens to them, and its hit and miss, and you put that message on the end and hope that somebody clicks on a link or what have you. How does it work with email media? Explain that to us a little bite more. So you can change the signatures, does that dynamically change depending on the business that the receiving person is in? How does that work?

Fiona     There are lots of different options. You can do it very simply or you can take it to a higher level.   The first thing for people to understand is that it works with what you have today, so if you use Outlook or Exchange or Google Apps or Office 365 or whatever, you can continue to use that platform. We give clients a central console that they can manage the media in, so it’s really easy for them to make everything consistent then they have total control the brand image, then they have total flexibility in terms of the level they want to go to. They can still have a very simple signature or they can load multiple campaigns. For example, one of the key differences with email media and email marketing is that you are having conversations backwards and forwards, it’s not just single one directional communication, so as you are talking to your suppliers, contacts, customers whoever, you get the chance to have different messages added in the course of that conversation. So the first email could promote a particular service, the next email could give you the link to an event. It gives you a huge dynamic opportunity to say different things and then you can also set up smart rules that will help you deliver the right messaging to the right person.  All you prospects could have an introductory message, all your existing customers could have a cross sale message to a different service, so it’s very flexible.


Kate       It keeps it very fresh as well, every time they get a new email it’s not the same thing every time, your standard information at the bottom of the email. It’s changing all the time and it gives you opportunity like you said to advertise different areas of your business, not just one element at a time. That sounds like it could be really really useful for a wide range of different businesses to use. Do you have a specific type of customer that uses this. Is it suitable for smaller companies as well as larger businesses?


Fiona     Yes absolutely, the solution is scalable so different companies of different sizes will have different needs. For example in a huge corporation consistency is much more important because you have so many employees, and this gives you a way to control everything centrally, to make sure everything is perfect.   A small business may want to do that but probably they will want to stand out more. This gives them a way to look really professional, because as well as everybody being consistent, it also gives you a very easy way to have professional looking designs. You just look smarter and you stand out more.


Kate       Fantastic, and like you said it adapts and it can plug into any system you are using. So is it relatively easy for small businesses and larger businesses alike to implement and get running with their businesses very quickly.


Fiona     A typical implantation will take about two weeks. For a smaller business it can be much quicker than that, for larger businesses it will really depend on their objectives and infrastructure. We can fit in with whatever the client requires. I think the key thing is that you can start simply and improve it as you go along. That’s one of the most important things. You are going to get data, you are going to get analytics about how your customers are engaging with you, so it’s something that you can start quite simply and then refine and optimise it as you go along. One of the key things that is very similar between a small company and a large company is the volume of emails that a person sends in a day. Typically, an average person sends about a thousand emails a month. It doesn’t matter if you’re a small company or a big company; you’re still going to be doing a lot of work on email. Even a company with 100 staff is going to have a hundred thousand potential opportunities where they could be promoting their business which email media will help them leverage. Obviously a large company will have more employees, but for a small company it can make a big difference.


Kate       Absolutely. In terms of the data that is coming back, what king of things would our audience, if they took on an email media system, what kind of statistics are going to be coming back, what will they be able to learn from those statistics?


Fiona     Well, on a simple level in terms of marketing it’s very similar to what they get with their email marketing. They can see who has clicked on which links, get to know what those customers are actually engaging with, and just knowing your customers and what they are interest in is one of the most important elements that analytics will give them. They can also integrate their email media with analytics, so Google Analytics or whatever they are using and that can actually give them specific revenue values. Did the customer who clicked on that link actually buy something, so they can link it to ROI as well as just marketing performance. The analytics will help them optimise, they will be able to get smarter about how they target the messaging. It will also give them much more knowledge about their audience as a company. Because it’s central, you know who you email, just think of the power if you could harness collectively all of the potential recipients that you talk to. So again that will help you with list building further down the line. You’ve got a very easy bucket to pull your organic contacts to ask them to opt in. You’re really getting a marketing power; you’re getting knowledge about what is interesting for your customers.          You can see if that is delivering something and then you can then help grow your database that supports your database email marketing. It’s very complementary to what they’re doing in both channels


Kate       Absolutely, it links everything together and I think again that is one of the key things that we always say is you need to integrate all of your touch points, all of your marketing channels, have those consistent messages and I think that email media is a great addition to that.         It’s something that we haven’t had insight on, as we have already said in previous times, in terms of how those one on one emails are performing. If somebody then goes through perhaps on your website if you are product based business and then purchases something you wouldn’t necessarily know about that so this really helps you bring everything together. In terms of social media, for example, which is obviously a hot topic for a lot of people at the moment, does it allow you to link together with social media and perhaps specific campaigns that you’re running and obviously dynamically changing the footers in your email, but is there any other way it helps you to integrate with social media, just on that one on one level?


Fiona     Yes, obviously links and icons are the most obvious things so you can ensure that everybody in your company has the right linked in message to drive traffic if that is important to you, ensure that every email has a link to your Facebook or your Twitter. Where you take that up a level is the potential to include RSS feeds in the email, so dynamically the latest tweet or latest status update can be pulled into each email. That gives you real live news that leverages the power of your Twitter account, or updates, or your blogs. Other customers have done campaigns basically linking messaging either using Facebook to drive their email campaigns, or using email to help build their social communities. Really you are limited by your imagination.


Kate       Brilliant, that sounds great because I know a lot of people like to have that link and absolutely, so they should, again integrating all the channels and social media is obviously one of the things that everybody is on at the moment. A lot of people with their businesses are focusing a lot of time and effort on social media. That sounds again like a really fresh way to get that information from the social media channels one to one to those people keeping those communications fresh.

We have already touched on it slightly, but in terms of email media and email marketing and linking those two together, how can email media help listeners grow their email list, because again that is something that people get concerned about, they want to make sure that they have that consistent list growth. How can this help them to do that?


Fiona     I think we touched on the first bit earlier, which is you are emailing a lot of people that are not on your database in the course of your work, and it is very important to capture the organic customers, the ones who are choosing to engage with your business now. First of all email media is a way you can get marketing to those people who haven’t yet opted in and include links for example, to sign up to your newsletter, so every email your business sends will be encouraging somebody to click to sign up to your newsletter and because of the email media options you can be much more clever about how you present that. You could have links to previous newsletters; click here to see what you’re missing out on, or just a better way to present the value proposition, why they should sign up, what’s in it for them to get your emails. It really helps you articulate why people should want to hear from you and if you look professional and that that’s delivered and the link is tracked you can see who signed up you can make sure they are properly added to the list.


Kate       Yes, and properly looked after and nurtured and again, going more into the email marketing, making sure they have a specific sequence that links together with the fact that they have had communications with you previously, and you can just make it even more personal.


Fiona     Absolutely and you can improve the segmentation in your email marketing because you know other things that those customers are engaging with, not just what is included within the newsletters, so you will know if a customer is interested in a particular event or a product. You can use that data as well to improve what you are sending them information about in your email marketing.


Kate       That sounds so exciting and I think there are a lot of people on this listening in that could really benefit from these services. It’s going to help you to drive traffic to the website, get those email sign ups, integrate your social media in a really live way with it, increase obviously your lead generation and the sales you are making which, as business owners is the bottom line and what we all need to do. I think email media is a really exciting opportunity to do that. Fiona, if anyone is interested in finding out more about email media from you or wants to get in touch to have a conversation with you, how can they get hold of you?


Fiona     Rocketseed.com, that’s the website. There is a contact form so they can just send a message. We’ve got a short video, two minutes, just with an overview showing them some things and there are case studies, all sorts of stuff.                The easiest way is to drop me a line and then I can have a specific conversation with them and understand what they are trying to do. I think that’s actually one of the key points, which is you can really do a range of different things, so you mentioned web traffic, cross selling and up selling, but we have clients who use it to monitor customer service, in one click rate your experience, good, excellent, bad. The way we start is usually to understand, as well as what things are interesting on the marketing side, just what the general business challenges are because there may be a way, or a nice example that somebody has been able to solve that problem.


Kate       Absolutely, so www.rocketseed.com and we’ll put the link to the website below this audio as well so people can get straight through to you.

Fiona thank you so much for being with us today. I think it’s really interesting to explore slightly different areas that a related to email marketing, and certainly growing peoples lists and generating sales, and anyway we can do that using email is certainly valuable for our listeners to find out about. Thank you so much for letting us know about the benefits and giving us that explanation about email media. Thank you so much.