Cultural Appropriation, Stereotyping, and Racism in Digital Advertising

This article is part of a larger series that focuses on diversity and equity in marketing through the amplification of Black and racially diverse authors. As a company, we are committed to identifying actions we can take in the fight against racism and injustice, and elevating BIPOC voices is paramount to inspiring change. Follow along and read other posts in this series here.



This post is authored by Le’Shae Robinson, an event planner, digital advertising specialist, and Director of Operations for nonprofit, NoLi CDC.

Imagine my face when I opened up an ad for a trampoline park that read “It’s lit” with three White kids on it. As the only Black person on my team, I was stunned—“It’s lit” is a term made popular by Houston rapper Travis Scott.

It was 2016, and I had just landed a job working for a digital advertising agency. My responsibilities included reviewing ads from clients across the country to make sure their ad images were the right size, URLs pointed to the correct website per the ad, double-checking the demographics the ads were supposed to be targeting, and making sure budgets aligned with clients’ expectations.

Basically, I was quality control for the team before they entered the ad into the platform and it was pushed to customers. It was here where I learned how racism plays a part in digital advertising.

Cultural appropriation in 2020

Cultural appropriation was the result that came from running ads that said things like “It’s lit” while not showing any African American people. It’s an old American story to profit from parts of Black culture without reference. It’s especially hurtful when it comes to music: We can’t forget how Elvis Presley went on to become the King of Rock and Roll, but heavily studied Black musicians and mimicked their singing and dancing styles. The artists who influenced him saw nowhere near the amount of success Elvis did—that is the true problem with cultural appropriation.

The digital ads this agency ran also contributed to inequality. One story in particular that stands out to me was an ad for a private school. The ad encouraged viewers to apply, showcasing the advantages of what their school offered. The demographics specifically targeted Caucasian people. I found it interesting that the client specifically wanted to target that demographic. Instantly I thought, “Wow.” What if there were other races who might be interested in what the school had to offer?

I voiced my concern to the team, and they, too, thought it was odd. However, the sales rep for the account insisted this was what their client wanted. We could have changed the demographic before we entered the order, but we feared what would happen if the client got applications from people outside of the targeted demographic. Would they dump us as an agency? Our backs were up against the wall.

I had to wonder how many qualified candidates of color missed the opportunity to attend the private school because the ad was targeted only to White people? I grew up going to public school and had an overall good experience. There were times, though, when I experienced situations I’m almost certain didn’t happen at a private school. (For example, 13 fights in one day taking away from learning time.) Imagine my parents being exposed to advertising for a private school. Would I be more accomplished? Would I have a better professional network? Would I have a better job? I’ll never know.

Stereotyping as a means of marketing

Stereotyping target audiences is another way racism rears its ugly head in the digital advertising industry.

An order came through one day for mouth grills. The image for this ad was a mouth grill that featured gold teeth in front of a black background. The ad ran as a mobile ad, which meant it would be displayed only on cellphones and other mobile devices. What made this racist? It specifically targeted Black barbershops and people who had a household income of $40,000 or less per year.

When advertisers showcase items like mouth grills to people who frequent Black establishments or don’t make a lot of money, it reaffirms certain stereotypes. The client likely missed out on sales because of this bias. There are plenty of people who own a mouth grill and make significantly more than $40,000 a year. In today’s climate, wearing a mouth grill is similar to wearing other accessories like earrings, necklaces, or watches.

If someone were to attend a Travis Scott or Migos concert, there is a high chance they would see concert-goers wearing a grill. These are the same people who have office jobs and can afford high-dollar concerts. They just don’t wear this accessory to work.

Consequences of following orders

Processing these orders, I often reflected on the true consequences of cultural appropriation, inequality, and stereotyping by running these ads.

Right now there is a call for racial equality. But it was my position as a quality control specialist that taught me racial equality is more than just asking for cops not to kneel on people’s necks. As our technology continues to evolve, racial equality could look like advertising educational opportunities to all people; giving Black people an opportunity to model in ads that use cultural references; finding a way to give credit to the origin of a particular phrase. There are many possibilities.

The call I make for advertising professionals is this: when working on projects, ask yourself, “How will this influence other cultures? Is there an opportunity to honor other cultures through this work? Is there anything about this project that would negatively impact another culture?”

Challenge yourself today not to just do your job—ask the tough questions and find innovative ways to make clients make more money while also fighting racial inequality.

It is possible.


Le’Shae Robinson is a jack of all trades. She has worked as an event planner, digital advertising specialist, and now as the Director of Operations for the NoLi CDC (a nonprofit that works to better housing and economic development in Lexington, KY). She also enjoys writing and providing social media management to local small businesses. Recently she won an award for a social media campaign that she led where her client earned the most meals per capita in an effort to fight hunger awareness. You can read her most recently published work here. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, learning new recipes, and listening to Beyonce.


Visit this page to see more in the series, or check back for our next guest post.

CM Group is a family of global marketing technology brands including Campaign Monitor, CM Commerce, Delivra, Emma, Liveclicker, Sailthru, and Vuture. By joining together these leading brands, CM Group offers a variety of world-class solutions that can be used by marketers at any level. Headquartered in Nashville, TN, CM Group has United States offices in Indianapolis, Los Angeles, New York City, Pittsburgh and San Francisco, and global offices in Australia, London, New Zealand, and Uruguay.

The post Cultural Appropriation, Stereotyping, and Racism in Digital Advertising appeared first on Campaign Monitor.

How Email Can Improve Your Inbound Marketing Strategy

Do you love receiving cold calls or emails you never signed up for? What about TV commercials invading your time watching the newest streaming binge? If your answer was “no” to these, your audience probably doesn’t like a disruptive outbound strategy either.

Consumers also have the ability to opt out of remarketing display ads and add themselves to a “do not call” list. In fact, outbound strategies like display only amount to an average of 0.05% click-through rate.

If you’re looking to find engaged customers who are interested in your brand, you need to develop an inbound marketing strategy. Inbound marketing focuses on a natural and organic approach to earn new customers instead of a more aggressive, in-your-face sales tactics. You’re able to connect with customers on a more personal level and solve problems they already have.

How can you develop an inbound marketing strategy? Does email marketing fit into the equation? Let’s dive into the world of inbound marketing and learn how you can engage with your customers on a more authentic level.

What is an inbound marketing strategy?

Inbound marketing is a business methodology that attracts consumers by developing personalized experiences and content targeted to their needs. Through content development and segmentation, you build long-lasting relationships with consumers that’ll ultimately boost your bottom line and increase your conversion longevity.

There are three essential elements within a successful inbound marketing strategy:

  • Attract: Draw your target audience in with quality content that establishes your brand as a trusted thought leader.
  • Engage: Present solutions that align with your audience’s pain points, so they’re more likely to buy from you.
  • Delight: Provide support that empowers your customers to enjoy their purchase and continue engaging with your brand.

Think of an inbound marketing strategy as an ongoing user journey. When customers are pleased with your products or services, they’ll share that success with more people to create a self-sustaining lead generation loop. Above all, inbound marketing is useful for marketers because it gives you a clear view of your lead funnel and has the potential to boost your ROI with more engaged customers.

What inbound marketing tactics should you focus on?

Are you convinced that inbound marketing is a smart strategy for your brand? While there are a lot of different channels you can focus your efforts on, it’s essential to meet your audience on their preferred platforms and consider their needs. Are they savvy social media scrollers? Or are they more likely to convert from their email inboxes? Figure out where they spend the most time and develop content around those channels.

To help you get started, consider the following marketing tactics:

  • SEO: Optimize your website’s content and structure to appear for organic search engine result pages.
  • PPC: Utilize paid search to rank for keywords that are actively searched for and show audience intent.
  • Content marketing: Nurture your leads with quality content like blogs, videos, case studies, and other downloadable content.
  • Social media: Attract new and current readers by promoting your stellar content on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and more.
  • Email marketing: Grow a loyal subscriber base and deliver personalized content to drive brand awareness and sales for your brand.

How to integrate email into your inbound marketing strategy

A successful inbound marketing strategy has a lot of moving parts. However, many marketers underestimate the power that email marketing has to contact opted-in leads, nurture their user experience, and drive final conversions.

While email can be used for both outbound and inbound marketing, it plays a crucial role in engaging users who’ve already shown interest in your company. Consider the following statistics behind the power of using email within your inbound marketing strategy:

  • Seventy-four percent of digital marketers agree that personalization increases email engagement.
  • Email is 40 times more effective at lead generation than Twitter or Facebook.
  • Email marketing drives more conversions than any other digital channel.
  • For every $1 spent, email generates $38 in ROI.
  • Ninety-two percent of adults use email, and 63% use it at least once a day.
  • Seventy-two percent of people prefer to receive promotional brand content through email.

Tattly Creates DIY Newsletters To Engage Subscribers

Source: Really Good Emails

Step-by-step guide to integrating email into your inbound strategy

To start building an inbound marketing approach for your email campaigns, it’s vital to follow email marketing best practices to ensure you maximize performance. If you want subscribers to find value in your emails, you need to develop relevant messaging, design, and an automation flow that keeps your audience engaged.

Here’s the best way to develop an email inbound marketing campaign.

1. Determine your target audience and goals.

Understanding your audience demographics and pain points is critical in creating successful email campaigns. What prospects are likely to purchase your services or products? Consider the following questions when narrowing down your audience:

  • How does your brand solve challenges?
  • What do they like and dislike?
  • What is their occupation and how does that drive decisions?
  • What is their age?

By answering these questions and taking the time to discover customer personas, you can create more targeted and relevant messaging that’ll drive sales from your subscriber list.

2. Grow a quality subscriber list organically.

To grow a robust inbound marketing strategy, you need to have a large list of email subscribers to message. However, quantity doesn’t always mean quality. Your email list needs to consist of subscribers who opted in to your list and have expressed interest in your brand.

If you’re starting from scratch, building an email list can take time, and you’ll need to strategize ways to entice potential subscribers. While a simple “join our list!” message in your website’s footer may have done the job in the past, modern consumers will consider your value proposition before willingly giving up their information.

Strong value propositions include:

  • Dedicated landing pages full of information about your brand and service
  • Gated content that educates your user beyond what’s available on your website
  • Incentives to persuade your user to make a purchase, like free shipping or coupons

While these are just a few suggestions to grow a quality list, you need to focus on fulfilling your user’s needs and offering value in return.

Marketo Provides Gated Report For Data

Source: Marketo

3. Segment subscribers into more relevant groupings.

Now that you have a subscriber list full of qualified leads, you need to segment like-minded persona types, so you can deliver more targeted messages. You can start by dividing your list by intent: prospects, past customers, leads close to a purchase, undecided, etc. Understanding the buying stages will help you communicate more effectively and target their needs.

For example, if you know your subscriber is close to making a purchase, you can send coupons to incentivize their actions. If they’re new to your brand, send an integrated welcome series that introduces them to your value and onboarding information.

Beyond categorizing by your lead funnel, you can also segment your audience by demographics, location, buying history, website activity, and more.

4. Determine the type of email you plan on sending.

There are several types of inbound marketing emails you can send your subscribers to engage and convert them. While this will depend on your audience segmentation, consider the following email types to get started:

  • Welcome emails help the subscriber get to know you better and set expectations for future email campaigns.
  • Transactional emails send an automatic notification email when a subscriber buys a product and the order is shipped, so they’re kept in the loop for important updates.
  • Newsletter emails update your subscribers on current events, product updates, or news to build your brand awareness.

Once you strategize your email type, you’ll need to start designing your emails to earn open and click rates. Pay special attention to your subject lines, design aesthetic, and messaging to keep your subscribers coming back for more.

 Nike Sends Transactional Emails After Each Purchase

Source: Really Good Emails

5. Measure your performance

After each campaign, it’s crucial to monitor the final performance results. Email metrics not only help you measure the success of your campaign, but you’re also able to derive insights to improve future communications.

Here are a few metrics you should measure:

  • Open rate: the total number of emails that were opened
  • Click-through rate: the total number of clicks that happened once your email was opened
  • Bounce rate: the average number of subscribers you were unable to reach
  • Delivery rate: the percentage of emails delivered divided by the number of emails sent

If you’re looking to test performance, try A/B testing different elements within your email to understand what your subscribers react to. You can test subject lines, headlines, images, layout, and more. If you notice your segment responds strongly to one message over another, send the high-performing email to the rest of your subscribers.

Campaign Monitor Provides Email Campaign Metrics

Source: Campaign Monitor

Wrap up

Now that you know what an inbound marketing strategy is and how email marketing plays a critical role, it’s time to start developing your own. However, a successful strategy won’t happen over time. You need to put in the time, patience, and resources to start seeing the fruits of your labor.

To build a robust inbound marketing funnel with email, you’ll need to:

  • Target the right audience and set goals.
  • Build out a qualified subscriber list.
  • Segment your audience based on their needs.
  • Select the right types of emails for your subscribers.
  • Monitor performance metrics.

Ready to get started with email marketing? Try Campaign Monitor for free today.

The post How Email Can Improve Your Inbound Marketing Strategy appeared first on Campaign Monitor.

The ORTE Model: MailNinja’s Guide to Creating Emails that Get Results

This is a post from our partner, Doug Dennison, from MailNinja

Email marketers often hear this advice: Send the right emails to the right person at the perfect time.

This advice can seem less than helpful. Naturally, we all want to send relevant, timely content, but how do you do that?  What is “the right” message?

Before aiming for perfection, you simply want quality emails. In order to make great sends, you’ll need the following:

​​Sender authority

​​If you want your emails to send without issue, you’ll need to authenticate your domain. Authenticating your domain is the best way to ensure your emails are delivered successfully.

 

Thought leadership

Show your subscribers you’re a thought leader in your industry by providing high-quality content, original research, and helpful information.

​​Message relevancy

​​Does your message match your audience? Guessing is no way to ensure positive relationships with your subscribers, so find out more about them. Put out surveys, test your emails, and research the subscribers who read your emails.

​​Recipient desire

Is your content meeting a need? Do your emails answer questions or provide information on products people want?

​​Look at Apple for example. Apple’s a thought leader in the tech space; the company creates products people want to buy; and when Apple launches something, the world knows about it.

Secondly, their emails are on brand, on message, and speak directly to their audience. This is because Apple markets products carefully and does adequate research into their customer-base. You can see in the ad below that Apple encourages customers to provide feedback on their current device:

Example of an Apple phone ad
​​​
​​Source

Introducing the ORTE model.

​​The ORTE model from MailNinja explores the four pillars of successful email marketing campaigns, so you can send emails like a (mail)ninja.

Mailninja ORTE model for email

Source​​

​Opportunity

​​This section is designed to look at opportunities to do things in a slightly different way, looking at ways you make your mark, stand out, and cut through the noise.

​​Market and industry – Are other people in your market space using social media heavily but tend to avoid email? Then switch it up and send more emails. If you want to stand out, be different in your approach.

Consider, too, your industry benchmarks. If you see that your industry gets an low open rate on average, there’s a real opportunity for you to create more relevant, engaging, and personal emails that will drive better rates.

​​Competitors/gap analysis – Do your competitors send emails more frequently? Are their emails better designed than yours? Use this as your benchmark, but don’t rely on it solely. Instead, check out Really Good Emails, get inspired by companies outside of your industry so you can create unique, relevant and valuable content for your audience.

MailNinja's Really Good Emails account

​​The strengths – What’s already working in your email marketing program? Dive deep, find out, and do more of the same. That’s the whole purpose of A/B split testing—creating small experiments, finding out what works, and scaling.
​​
​​The weaknesses – Is there anything within your current email approach, email design, or email marketing strategy, that you know may be actively keeping your engagement levels down?

Perhaps you need assistance from an email marketing expert, or you may prefer to use free resources (like Really Good Emails) for inspiration, so you can improve things like your subject lines, personalization tactics, and email formatting, so your emails work on mobile and desktop perfectly.
​​
​​The threats – As part of your competitor analysis, make note of your top competitors. How can you use email marketing to convert customers from a competitor, will discounts/welcome offers work, or is it better to produce more unique, relevant and valuable content, more often?

Graphic with the words strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats

​​Consumer/audience – This part is all about the relevancy of your emails. It’s vital you create relevant content for your audience, focusing on the language you use, the design aesthetics, the offers, and promotions. It’s paramount to consider the audience perspective, not your own. Will they be expecting discounts? More frequent emails? Maybe current customers want rewards for their loyalty.
​​
​​Interest/demand – Which of your products are performing best? Your emails should contain a balance, so you can boost demand for the products you might want to sell more of, as well as give people what they want by showcasing products your audience know and love. You may want to drive interest without selling, by focusing on features, benefits, and brand value, rather than cost.
​​
​​Social trends – Review your social channels to pinpoint trends you can repurpose in your emails. Social media is constantly evolving and coming up with new trends, so it’s important you move quickly and align your emails with what’s top of mind.
​​
​​Social proof – Do you have reviews or positive experiences from other customers that you can show off? Email and social work hand-in-hand, so bridge that gap by sharing social content in your emails, such as customer comments. Also, use reviews sites like Trustpilot to enhance trust and authority. If you have awards, showcase them and show leads you’re trusted.

​​There are 6 types of social proof, as shown below:​​

Devrix Social Proof graphic

Source

Seasonal opportunity – If you’re a clothing retailer, think winter and summer ranges. If it’s the school holidays, perhaps discounted services/products. If it’s Christmas, capitalize on the increased demand and send out more emails, such as countdowns to Christmas.

You always want to be looking for that golden opportunity. Whatever market you’re in, it will always be changing, and new trends will appear. It’s all about finding the gap available to send out those marketing emails that will work. Always be on your toes, checking the news and stuff that’s trending on social media, so you can tailor your email campaigns to put them in a position where they’ll deliver.

​Relevancy

​​In this section, we are focusing on relevancy, creating content specifically for your audience, so you can create a better on-brand and personalized experience with your emails.

​​Emotional triggers – There are a few emotions you can look at triggering with your emails, here are some ideas:

  • Trust
  • ​​Value
  • ​​Belonging
  • ​​Happiness
  • ​​Love
  • ​​Curiosity
  • ​​FOMO (fear of missing out)
  • ​​Shock/surprise
  • ​​Exclusivity
  • ​​Competition
  • ​​Guilt
  • ​​Anger
  • ​​Pride

​​Remember: emotions drive actions.

​​Desire/motivation – the AIDA model looks at the following steps:

A graphic of the AIDA model, attention, interest, desire, and action

Source

​​This model is a great place to start when understanding the “motivators” for action in your email campaigns. Let’s break this down:

​​1. Attract attention: Your email must attract the recipient’s attention. Writing short, effective subject lines is a great way to do this. Clickbait is a highly effective way to grab attention, but use it wisely, as these tricks are now widely known and often ignored.

​​2. Maintain interest: Once your email is open, the reader will spend an average 13.4 seconds reading your email. This may sound like a long time, but if your message isn’t clear, your copy is too long, your main CTA is too far down, or your email isn’t optimized for mobile screens, then you simply won’t drive engagement and maintain interest.

​​3. Create desire: If your message is clear and your subscriber is interested, it is now your mission to persuade the subscriber to click through to purchase your product, your service, or perform the action you want. You do this through having an appealing offer or product.

4. Take action: As soon as the desire is there, this must be transferred into action, that is, the purchase or click through to your website.

In email marketing, the AIDA model can even be boiled down to just AA—Attention and Action. Of course, interest and desire are important factors, but in the case of email, we’re going to assume they’re assumptions, as your audience is already subscribed to your list and have explicitly said they want your emails.

​​Audience demographic – If your audience spans across different ages and genders, you want your emails to be applicable to each demographic. This is where email segmentation is your new best friend, as it can help you to tailor content to each type of reader.

On signing up to your email list, add a few extra fields to capture more data. If they already exist, then try running surveys to gather more information from your audience.

This is where ecommerce and email are great together, as you are gathering layers of data from your audience and customers, through customer signups, email engagement, and purchase history. This is where CM Commerce comes in, since you can sync it with your Shopify or Woocommerce shop right away to start ecommerce email marketing.

CM Commerce example

​​WIIFM (what’s in it for me?) – Remember, it’s about your audience. Your product might be amazing and have all of its unique selling points, but what are the direct benefits to your audience if they were to buy it? Is it B2B or B2C, and can you apply the benefits to certain individuals and companies?

​​Personal – Each subscriber isn’t just a number. They have a name, likes, and dislikes, and you generally know their age and what they tend to search for on your website (If they have actively visited your site already that is).

Personalize your content to every reader, you can use tags to insert the recipient’s first name, or even to promote your local store, so your readers know certain products are in stock or on offer.

​​Culture and Localization – It’s not just about translating your email content for French or Spanish subscribers: Your emails should incorporate cultural awareness. Think about local dialect, trends and tastes, hobbies, slang, etc.

 

 

Timing

​​Subscriber timezone – Think about where your subscribers are located, do you want campaigns that are sent out at the same time in your time zone, or would it be better to accommodate everyone, and send out your emails at the same local time for all?

​​Best open rate time – This point emphasizes the importance of testing and keeping an eye on industry benchmarks. These can change depending on the year, or if a global event (such as COVID-19) affects the economy.

​Execution

Value proposition – This point is all about taking what your product or service does, and emphasizing the benefits to the reader. An important thing we should point out however, is that the value-adding shouldn’t have to contain buzz-words or complex phrases. This overwhelms your readers, and it adds no value to your offering.

​​Keep things industry-specific, and value the intentions of your reader. With your email campaign, you want something that gets readers to your website, actively improves engagement, and improves your brand awareness.

​​Design – Think about how you can deliver your emails with a design that incorporates your brand image, and the relevant products you are offering. We’d recommend using a mix of text and images (60/40 split), taking close attention to the fold line, the inverted pyramid, and your CTA, (or CTAs if you have multiple).

The invisible pyramid is our favorite, as it is a great way to introduce what a product of yours does, then turn the attention to the reader, possibly asking them a question related to the benefits they will receive, and directing them down towards the button.

​​Color psychology – Think about the colors that are associated with both your brand, and what’s emotionally captivating.

​​As you might expect, design, color, tone, and language, are incredibly important to perfecting your email formula. If you’re new to the world of effective email design, you can always use our industry-leading templates and guides.

Wrap up

As we’ve seen, the ORTE model focuses on the four pillars for successful email marketing. Looking at Opportunity, Relevancy, Timing, and Execution. The goal is to align these four areas so you are sending highly targeted and personalized email campaigns to your audience. The sweet spot in the middle is where you want to aim for.

​​So, next time you start planning your next email campaign, try to do some market and competitor research upfront so you know what you’re sending and why, craft the content, look at the design and copy, then your timing.


​​This post was written by Doug Dennison, CEO at MailNinja, the UK’s leading email marketing agency. Their flagship email campaign management service allows companies to fully outsource their day-to-day email marketing.
​​

The post The ORTE Model: MailNinja’s Guide to Creating Emails that Get Results appeared first on Campaign Monitor.

How Mindful Moments in Marketing Can Inspire Change

This article is part of a larger series that focuses on diversity and equity in marketing through the amplification of Black and racially diverse authors. As a company, we are committed to identifying actions we can take in the fight against racism and injustice, and elevating BIPOC voices is paramount to inspiring change. Follow along and read other posts in this series here.



This post is authored by Tray T.S. Deadwyler, a civic strategist, servant leadership coach, and national service expert.

Though our world and work are continually changing, being mentally nimble and mindful is essential to adjusting to the ever-ebb and flow of life.

Some of us at this very moment noticed the word “mindful” and immediately thought of meditation and yoga attire, or maybe a crystal bowl and chants. Others may be thinking of affirmations and theta-wave soundtracks. But there is vastly more to the practice and
application of mindfulness in our lives.

Simply stated (though not as easily practiced), “Mindfulness is focused attention, on purpose, at the moment, and without judgment.” Mindfulness is a skill. It is to be developed, improved, and enhanced within all of us. Mindfulness traverses the various contexts of our lives and makes us better humans and better leaders.

It enables us to be more present, introspective, empathic, vulnerable, courageous, and authentic. I believe these are characteristics of the people and leaders we want and need in our lives, workplaces, and communities. These characteristics could also be considered modes and manifestations of the same. The more you practice, the more you become.

How deploying mindfulness elements could affect our day-to-day

For the sales and marketing teams, it shows up in every campaign, every event, and every ask. Having a better grasp of what your customers and clients care about may produce a better result. We can also agree that connection is our ideal and goal, so our communication must be authentic to our company’s brand, vision, and values.

Mindfulness shows itself by taking another look at the scheduled email to ensure it is the right moment for what is happening globally. It is checking the “Yes” box for speaking to the gap while also checking “Yes” to being vulnerable and reflective, ensuring our personal biases are not skewing the copy.

For the CEO, it may look like “the second ask” during the morning coffee break. You may notice anguish or confusion on the face of a team member who is typically upbeat and magnetic. Being present, you listen carefully to a canned response (we have all been guilty of this) and discern that their response isn’t congruent with their physiology.

It takes courage and empathy to ask again, “How are you, really?” In that simple inquiry, you have allowed for vulnerability and introspection at that moment. Maybe they need a listening ear or are feeling stuck on a particular challenge. Taking a few moments to be right there in the moment can mean the world to team members and yield immeasurable results.

For the finance team, mindfulness allows us to effectively communicate why a decision was made. It marshals emotional intelligence to foster an understanding of your current state while having the ability to appropriately respond to others within the organization. Budget cuts can have some pretty personal consequences, but I have found over the years that when we can thoroughly explain the why, how, what, and when, changes seem to be a little more palatable.

And at home, many of our relationships could benefit from us being a little more attentive, having courageous communication, and forming congruency of thought and actions, consistency in the peaks and valleys, an open heart and mind—all while becoming our truest, most authentic selves.

Unfortunately, these elements of being mindful are not always dispensed toward people of color in the spaces we live and work. If we are to be mindful of this moment, there must be intentional vulnerability and presence with active ears to global protests and cries for justice and equality.

The challenge and the triumph of the mindful leader is internal and external awareness. Being present and introspective also means you are constantly searching yourself for biases, prejudices, limiting beliefs, and judgments about yourself and others. We live our lives from the inside out; how we interact with the world is merely a reflection. The authentic and courageous leaders we admire to avoid placating and passive conversations. They step up to correct the missteps and their indignation compels them to act.

Next steps

Some questions to consider:

  • Typically, how present in the moment are you, especially to those who matter?
  • Do you find yourself distracted or drifting during conversations?
  • Are you aware of your communication styles, triggers of temperament, the filters, and beliefs that drive your behavior?
  • Are you able to connect beyond your own experience and understand the feelings and emotions of another?
  • Are you honest about your imperfections? Do you feel that you can express them?
  • Are you challenging your thoughts and taking courageous actions in various areas of your life?
  • Do you feel that you are wearing multiple masks that cover your truest self?

Did you find some of these questions difficult to answer? That’s a start. It can be challenging to determine where to go when we don’t know where we are.

One way to begin is to try this simple exercise when you have a moment:

  • Find a comfortable and quiet place to sit.
  • Set a timer for 63 seconds.
  • Sit silently, eyes close for the full 63 seconds.
  • Just be there.

After the time has ended, ask yourself:

  • What did you notice during the exercise?
  • Were you distracted by your thoughts during the activity?
  • What were your thoughts about?

This simple practice can help you with the first element: Presence. Continue this practice for at least once a day and increase the time as you feel more comfortable. Keep a log and identify any patterns. The goal is for you to notice how much your attention is focused on the now.

Imagine our homes, communities, and workplaces with more presence, introspection, empathy, vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and inclusivity intentionally in play. What benefits do you foresee? What challenges do we need to overcome? How can you personally encourage an environment where mindful lives and leadership thrive?

This mindful journey begins with self-study and responsibility and ends with cultural change. May you be and become the mindful leaders for moments such as this.


 

Tray Deadwyler photoTray T.S. Deadwyler is the Founder of Think for Good, which supports leaders and organizations to increase their efficacy through creative ideation, planning and implementation. Think for Good works collectively with their clients to push beyond the conventional to develop innovative solutions. embodying the company mission, “Solve it Together.” They are committed to systemic problem-solving and co-creating a theory of change to achieve success in any area of life and leadership.

Affectionately known as the “Service Nerd” by his colleagues, Tray focuses on developing cross-sector solutions and training professionals to effectuate empathy in communities. With service to the community at his core, Tray’s civic and professional transcript spans organizations such as the American Red Cross, Atlanta Police Department, Communities in Schools, Morehouse College Spelman College, Points of Light Foundation, and the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps, Angels in Distress, Love Beyond Walls,
and One World Link.


Visit this page to see more in the series, or check back for our next guest post.

CM Group is a family of global marketing technology brands including Campaign Monitor, CM Commerce, Delivra, Emma, Liveclicker, Sailthru, and Vuture. By joining together these leading brands, CM Group offers a variety of world-class solutions that can be used by marketers at any level. Headquartered in Nashville, TN, CM Group has United States offices in Indianapolis, Los Angeles, New York City, Pittsburgh and San Francisco, and global offices in Australia, London, New Zealand, and Uruguay.

The post How Mindful Moments in Marketing Can Inspire Change appeared first on Campaign Monitor.

Improve Your Email Subject Lines

Article first published in March 2007, updated July 2020

Tips for improving your email subject lines

While the physical design of your email is essential, you have to also keep in mind that, to create a high-performing email, you need to consider every aspect of the email, from top to bottom. That means starting with your email subject line.

Did you know that approximately 47% of all email recipients will choose whether or not to open an email based solely on the subject line?

So how can you improve your email subject lines to boost your open rates? There are several things you’ll want to keep in mind, including:

Email subject line length

While your email subject line is the first piece of information that your readers see, it’s crucial to remember that you don’t have a lot of real estate to work with. Most browsers (both desktop and mobile) show a limited number of characters (including spaces). The ideal character length for a subject line is about 41 characters. That amounts to approximately seven words.

Recent research has shown that the number of words in a subject line can have a significant impact on your email benchmarks.

Email benchmarks based on email subject line length

Source: Marketo

Consider including an emoji in your subject line.

We use emojis in our correspondences throughout our day in chats and text messages. Still, have you ever considered adding them to your email subject lines? It’s worth experimenting with, since studies have shown that 56% of brands who use emojis in their email subject lines have seen higher open rates.

Try subject line formulas.

Subject line formulas are a simple way to brainstorm different subject lines you can use and test for maximum engagement. The formulas are essentially strategies you can implement for specific types of campaigns.

Here are some formulas you might consider using:

  • The question: Ask readers a question so they’ll want to engage and maybe even respond.
  • The how-to: Promise to teach subscribers something useful.
  • The scarcity: Tell subscribers there isn’t much time left to buy a product.
  • The announcement: Give subscribers something to be excited about.
  • The curiosity gap: Make subscribers feel the need to open the email.
  • The surprise: Create a wild subject line to grab subscriber attention.
  • The personalized: Use subscriber data to make the subject line feel custom-made.

Real subject lines you can use for inspiration

Ready to start creating the perfect email subject lines? Here are few excellent real-life email subject lines to use for inspiration:

  • 📧 The email you’ve been waiting for
  • Summer glowing! ✨ $5 ANY Body Brush!
  • Your subscription keeps getting better
  • Meet us backstage
  • Unmissable blogs to improve your digital performance

Further reading

We’ve dug up this little collection of links to help you and your clients craft more effective subject lines. Next time you send a campaign, spend a little more time working with your client on that subject line and compare your open rates with previous attempts.

Here are some excellent reference links on improving your subject lines:

We’ve left the best for last—over at CopyBlogger, Brian Clark is taking headlines and rewriting them to be more effective. It’s not specific to email subject lines, but Brian explains his process, and you can learn a lot from his approach.

If you’ve written a really successful subject line (or a spectacularly unsuccessful one), leave us a comment below.

Wrap up

Crafting the perfectly clickable email subject line isn’t nearly as difficult as you may think. Here are a few tips you’ll want to keep top of mind:

  • Length matters; keep it short and sweet
  • Consider using an emoji

Looking for a simple-to-use email marketing platform for your brand? Then join over 2 million marketers worldwide and give Campaign Monitor a try.

The post Improve Your Email Subject Lines appeared first on Campaign Monitor.

How to Use Email Ads in a Way Subscribers Will Actually Like

Paid ads have turned into the bread and butter of marketing campaigns, especially as organic reach becomes more unattainable.

It’s almost impossible to avoid seeing paid advertising in today’s digital world. Whether you’re scrolling through your cell phone or driving, you’re bound to be faced with ads on social media, TV, billboards, paid display, radio, and more.

While that’s just a few advertising avenues you come across daily, you might be wondering how you can get your brand to stand out or add another revenue stream for your business.

Well, you might actually be sleeping on another viable advertising channel that you use daily: your email and newsletter campaigns.

Have you considered using your email channel for ads? With over 3.9 billion email users worldwide, it’s one of the most direct ways you can contact your subscribers and has the potential to turn into a massive ROI source for your brand.

If email ads haven’t crossed your mind, it’s essential to weigh your options, so you’re investing your advertising dollars into the right channel. Read on to discover what email ads are and how you can utilize them in a way that excites your audience.

What are email ads?

Email and newsletter ads are paid advertisements that are positioned throughout your email campaigns. While, technically, all emails are advertisements in themselves, email ads are “rented-out” spaces that allow other brands to place advertisements in your email campaigns. These ads allow you to generate extra revenue or form a mutually beneficial agreement with another brand.

How email ads appear in the inbox varies depending on the audience and goal, but they typically include:

  • Display ads: Embedded ads that include a video, text, or static image that communicates a message through HTML code. These look similar to web display ads.
  • Native ads: Immersive ads that are cohesive with the email design and content for a more seamless experience. Native ads could be only text or have a more simple design format.
  • Sponsored emails or content: Brands also have the option to sponsor the email in exchange for an endorsement or to send out an email on behalf of a third-party sponsor.

What are the benefits of using email ads?

The significant benefit of email ads is the potential to bring in additional ROI for your business. If you have a sizable email subscriber list built out, other brands are going to find value in advertising to your audience. The more subscribers you have, the more value you present.

Compared to other digital channels, email marketing provides a direct and personalized connection with each of your subscribers. If you send an email, assuming you avoid the spam filter, it’ll appear in someone’s inbox and have a high chance of being opened. With an average open rate of 17.8% and a click-through rate of 2.6%, the email ad is likely to produce conversions for your partners as well.

What is the cost of email ads?

Email ads are priced by cost per impression (CPM), where you charge a price per thousand subscribers on the email list. For example, if you charge $30 CPM, you’ll be given $600 for an email ad that was sent to 20,000 subscribers. It’s important to note that this cost doesn’t account for email deliverability or bounces.

You can also charge the cost per lead (CPL). With CPL, you’re only paid when a subscriber converts into a customer. However, CPL is more prevalent within the B2B business space due to the sale’s incubation period and isn’t always as lucrative for B2C. Additionally, you can negotiate an affiliate deal if you believe your email is worth more than the fee. Affiliate deals typically involve both brands promoting each other long term.

If you’re thinking about selling ad space, it’s essential to consider the quality of your email list, email content, and what value you bring a potential advertiser. A good candidate for email ads includes:

  • An engaged and loyal subscriber base
  • Subscribers that are double opted in or use a preference center
  • An email that receives a high open and click rate
  • A clear niche and message
  • Ideally more than 10,000 subscribers

How to successfully adopt email ads in your next campaign

Now that you know what email ads are, you need to consider if they’re right for your brand and how you can adopt a new advertising strategy. Whether you’re trying to bring in additional revenue or expand your audience, the right ad design can make all the difference in delivering a successful email campaign.

Before you lock a partnership down and fully jump into email ads, it’s essential to learn a few best practices to nail the design and copy.

Focus on the copy and design.

When it comes to designing an email ad or setting standards for affiliates, many people make the mistake of applying web ad design standards. However, email subscribers don’t typically focus on imagery as much as they do the text.

To fit with your email flow, it’s essential to focus on the copy instead of creating an elaborate design that will distract the subscriber. While you still need to pay attention to the color, font size, and placement, you want the ad to feel like it’s part of the email design instead of an advertisement. Within your EPS, experiment with different email newsletter templates to help figure out the proper balance.

Stay relevant with the message.

To create a user-friendly experience that your subscribers enjoy, you need to consider your audience’s likes and dislikes when it comes to content. Does your audience like reading helpful how-to tips or product updates? Coupons or featured benefits? Research past campaign’s successful open and click-through rates to get a better grasp on how you can serve your audience quality content.

You need to understand your audience’s pain points to serve relevant, personalized ads with your standard messaging. Even more, your ads should spark your subscriber’s interest enough to earn a click and a conversion for your partners. Bottom line: If your target audience is car mechanics, don’t serve an ad about kitchen appliances in your email.

Be transparent.

Have you ever noticed the #sponsored or #ad in a social media affiliate ad on Instagram? Your email ads also need to be transparent and communicate that someone else is paying for the messaging. While many advertisers use the language “sponsored” within the email, it’s also recommended to create your ad differently from the rest of your content. Consider designing a different background color, label, or special icon, so your subscribers can easily understand what organic vs. paid content is.

In the ad below, Refinery29 states “advertisement” above each partner ad, so subscribers have a clear understanding of what content blocks are paid for.

Refinery29 Provides Transparency On Partner Ads

Source: Refinery29

Choose the right placement.

You don’t want to bulk up with your email with too many ads. Your subscribers have opted in to your email communications because they find value in your content and are loyal to your brand. If, all of a sudden, you start pushing salesy messaging from another business that they may not recognize, you’ll likely create confusion and distrust.

Instead, your email ads should be naturally embedded within your email. You’ll need to balance your advertising space with original content, so it feels like a seamless experience for your subscribers. If the ad is the first thing your subscribers read in your email, consider designing something less intrusive. Email ads, native or display, are typically bulky and should be used sparingly within your email design template.

Take a look at NYT’s display email ads throughout their weekly newsletter. The email ads are strategically placed at the top, middle, and end of the newsletter, so as not to take away from the long-form content subscribers look forward to.

NYT Cooking Offers Multiple Email Ads in Weekly Newsletter

Source: NYT Cooking

Work with partners you believe in.

The wrong partners could undermine your credibility and make subscribers wary of your messaging. Even worse, if your subscribers purchase from your partner and the experience didn’t go well, your reputation could take a hit. As a general rule, only partner with brands you trust and those that provide value in their services or products that your subscribers will benefit from. Don’t just pick anyone who offers you a good deal; vet them out, understand their value proposition, and research their target audience. Your brand and subscribers will thank you for meeting their needs.

Wrap up

If you’re thinking about the next big advertising platform, you don’t have to look far. While email isn’t the hottest new trend in the marketing landscape, it’s the only platform that’s consistently performed well with all audiences and industry segments. With email, you can develop highly personalized messaging that’s delivered to the right subscribers at the right time.

Due to email’s success rate and conversion opportunities, it’s the perfect avenue for advertising. Email ads offer brands the possibility of converting thousands of engaged and targeted subscribers into loyal customers. When developing or vetting out email ads, consider the following:

  • Develop the design and copy to feel natural within the email’s content
  • Create relevant messaging for your target audience to take action
  • Offer full transparency around what messaging is sponsored and what isn’t
  • Place ads strategically alongside your content, so as not to derail from your value
  • Work with partners that you trust and your subscribers will benefit from

Ready to get started with email ads? Try Campaign Monitor out for free today.

The post How to Use Email Ads in a Way Subscribers Will Actually Like appeared first on Campaign Monitor.

Why Email Newsletters Are the Best Service Your Brand Has

While newsletters are one of the most common types of emails to produce, you need to do them right to earn high open rates and conversions. If you’re able to nail the delivery with an email newsletter service, they have the opportunity to drive ROI and become a well-oiled marketing machine for your digital strategy.

With 87% of marketers agreeing that email newsletters are a viable form of communication, you need to first home in on the goal of your newsletter and what KPIs you plan on measuring. Do you want more conversions or website visits? Product education or community events?

Read on to discover why newsletters are essential and the benefits you can expect from creating one.

What are newsletters?

Newsletters are emails that serve subscribers your most interesting announcements and content. Not only do they allow you to pass on valuable information, but newsletters also help you build brand awareness, strengthen customer relationships, and move subscribers through your lead funnel faster.

While you have different options when it comes to your messaging and CTA, you always want to focus on subscriber engagement. The higher open and click-through rates you earn with engaging content, the more likely your subscribers will become brand advocates and turn into long-term customers.

5 benefits of developing a newsletter

Before developing your email newsletter, it’s essential to examine what a successful newsletter entails and how it can drive business for your brand. Let’s take a look at a few newsletter benefits.

1. Newsletters increase brand awareness and subscriber relationships.

Newsletters have a higher engagement rate than any kind of digital marketing and are 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than social media. Newsletters act as an additional advertising vehicle for your brand to highlight products, successes, promotions, employees, events, and more.

With today’s email campaign software, you can deliver newsletters on a consistent schedule to become a podium for your brand and allow you to stay in the forefront of your subscriber’s minds. Your subscribers also have something to look forward to and feel more connected to your brand, while you’re able to provide reminders about your service along the way.

With the ability for your subscribers to opt in or use a preference center, newsletters also help narrow your list of qualified leads. By focusing only on leads who are invested in your brand, you can personalize your message and build deeper connections.

Nisolo Builds Brand Awareness with Engaging Content

Source: Really Good Emails

2. Newsletters boost ROI and sales.

As a digital marketer, staying on budget and meeting KPIs is crucial when you’re reporting the success of any marketing strategy. Fortunately, email newsletters can earn an average ROI of $42 for every $1 you spend. Newsletters are electronic and, once the strategy is in place, they don’t require extended resources to build out due to email newsletter services with marketing automation software. With a median ROI of 122%, email newsletters pay off more than social media, paid search, and direct mail, with little expense on your brand’s end

Newsletters are also powerful conversion tools. You can educate your readers while providing exclusive specials for those that opt in to drive sales with your most engaged subscribers. When a subscriber receives a VIP promotion, it could be the extra encouragement needed to convince them to buy something from your brand. If you want to see how well your newsletter is converting, consider adding a unique discount code for each series. You can then track the usage of the code on your website to understand how many subscribers converted. Use this data to inform future campaigns.

3. Newsletters drive website traffic from your target audience.

While newsletters are great tools to educate and inform your audience, you also want to drive traffic to your website for more conversions. Within your email, actively work towards building your website presence by incentivizing clicks, offering more valuable content, or showcasing featured products for purchase.

To drive more traffic to your target audience, utilize segmentation and strong CTAs to help engage your subscribers. For example, messaging for B2B executives and marketing managers should be more personalized to their role, so you’re able to connect with them more authentically. While you’re going to send one newsletter theme, you can consider changing out the subject line, CTA, imagery, and more to target each audience segment’s needs.

With each newsletter you send, play close attention to your audience’s buying preferences and clicks, so you can build future topics that interest your readers. The more valuable and personalized content you create, the more likely your audience will stay engaged.

Greatist Provides Multiple Links to Website in Newsletter

Source: Really Good Emails

4. Newsletters offer a preferred method of communication.

Email is a popular communication method for modern consumers. In fact, by the end of 2020, total email users in the United States will reach over 255 million and 3.7 billion worldwide. With 93% of consumers saying they’d rather receive brand communications through email than any other digital platform, you can deliver messaging on a platform where your audience is nearly guaranteed to spend time on. This means more opens, clicks, and conversions.

The trick is to deliver valuable content and offer your subscribers incentives within each newsletter. This allows you to nurture potential customers and connect with them on a one-on-one basis on their preferred platform. To continue to entertain your subscribers, make sure each newsletter:

  • Includes a custom design with your unique branded style
  • Contains brief content, but uses plenty of images to showcase your message
  • Stays relevant and sticks to your niche

5. Newsletters help you grow an online community.

Not only are emails great for growing a strong subscriber base, but you can also increase your social media presence. While email bridges the communication gap between brands and consumers, social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are essential to your brand awareness and overall growth.

Include social media sharing buttons and links on your email newsletters to encourage subscribers to engage with you on more platforms. To sweeten the deal, promote a social media contest within your newsletter that persuades your audience to follow your channel or check out your content.

On the flip side, use your social channels to promote your newsletter and join your mailing list. Through Facebook pages and Twitter cards, your followers can sign up for your newsletter without leaving the page.

OpenTable Provides Social Media Links in Email

Source: Really Good Emails

Bonus: email newsletter content ideas

Now that you understand the benefits of developing your newsletter, it’s time to start putting knowledge into practice to create your first one. You need to evaluate your end goals, the capabilities your email newsletter service offers, and the types of content you plan on sending. Do you want to educate your subscribers on new technology? Will you be pre-scheduling your content ahead of time or sending it on the fly?

Make sure you have your strategy on point before putting together your newsletter. However, if you’re stuck on content, consider the following ideas:

  • How-to guide: Provide step-by-step instructions or a video on your products. These guides can help solve your brand’s largest pain points while also demonstrating your value.
  • Blog posts: Share snippets of your long-form content to entice website clicks and showcase your thought-leadership authority.
  • Videos: With the opportunity to increase the open rate by 6%, videos are a creative way to entertain your subscribers. It’s important to note that not all email newsletter services are compatible with video.
  • Product announcements: Get buzz around new products by teasing out the release throughout your newsletter and making a celebration out of it.
  • Testimonials: Provide social proof for your brand by creating case studies and testimonials of customer success stories. Seventy percent of people will trust a recommendation from someone they don’t know.
  • Events: Gear up for an event by providing subscribers with what they can expect from attending the event, as well as a recap afterward for those who couldn’t make it. These can be either in-person, happy hours, or online webinar events, depending on your audience.
  • Behind the scenes: Connect with your subscribers by showcasing snapshots of your employees or a tour of your office. Your audience will appreciate the transparency, and you’re able to humanize your brand more.
  • Feedback surveys: Ask your newsletter subscribers for feedback on your service or brand to not only gain valuable insight, but also show that you value their opinion.

Figma Develops Monthly Newsletter

Source: Really Good Emails

Wrap up

While social media and SEO continue to rise in importance, email newsletters are still a widely preferred communication method between consumers and brands. Email newsletters not only help you engage your audience on a more personalized level, but also increase the likelihood of converting them into long-lasting customers.

If you’re looking for an email newsletter service, try Campaign Monitor for free today.

The post Why Email Newsletters Are the Best Service Your Brand Has appeared first on Campaign Monitor.

Writing Effective Email Copy

When you’re elbows-deep in applying visual tweaks to your HTML email design, it’s very easy to forget how important writing quality, punchy copy can be.

Tailoring email copy to your audience is not a matter of ensuring your message is readable even with images turned off, but presenting it in a style that your readers will respond to. In this post we’ll highlight some considerations when writing effective email copy, including tone, personality, keeping it concise, offering value to the reader and testing.

Start the conversation

You don’t have to be an expert copywriter to engage audiences, simply someone who understands the objectives of your campaign and can adapt their language to suit. We do this in everyday life – how you talk to a new client will, in most cases, be very different from how you address your partner or friends. And just like real life, being authentic and conversational is key to creating dialogue, regardless of whether you’re selling fashion to teens or life insurance to retirees.

With this in mind, consider the unique voice of your email communications and keep it consistent. Will your campaign convey the personality of a marketing team, senior management, a product user, or a friend? Each of these roles (and many more) will use their language differently and have a different kind relationship with the reader. Flipping from one persona to the next simply doesn’t work.

Get to the point

The Internet has many times over been blamed for turning us into lazy, keyword-seeing readers. Whether or not this is a result of mental shortcutting or backlit screens, keep your copy clear and concise. The majority of readers will not read the entirety of your email, let alone large blocks of text. So, highlight key points in your copy, use visual devices like colour and space and ensure that the message is immediately tangible – after all, you only have a few initial seconds before your reader decides to discard your email… Or read on.

Inspire action

At this point, it’s worth considering the importance of a strong call-to-action – what’s in it for the reader, anyway? Sell with value – outline the benefits of your product and the useful ways in which it can be used. Identify common pain-points and how you can overcome them. As many clients look towards fostering a level of engagement that goes much deeper than simply counting click-throughs to a landing page, compel recipients to explore your site, request more information, try new things and return for more.

Test, learn and improve

Finally, test and refine your email campaigns. Proofread, run your email copy past another set of eyes, ask for opinions. Progressively refine your copy using A/B testing, by comparing subject lines, differing calls to action and body content, all while delivering the most attractive email to your subscribers.

The quality of copy is critical to the success of a campaign, yet with the visual attraction of HTML email, often gets simply relegated to a design afterthought. Remember your objectives and ultimately, how you’re going to measure the success of the campaign – you can define your brand’s relationship with the reader, inspire action and learn more about your audience, simply by giving your copy some consideration and seeing it from recipient’s point of view.

Have a tip to add? These are only a few hints as how you can improve your copy and ensure more responsive subscribers, so please add your own tips and suggestions below.

The post Writing Effective Email Copy appeared first on Campaign Monitor.

The Model Minority Myth: Harmful for Society, Harmful for the Workplace

This article is part of a larger series that focuses on diversity and equity in marketing through the amplification of Black and racially diverse authors. As a company, we are committed to identifying actions we can take in the fight against racism and injustice, and elevating BBIPOC voices is paramount to inspiring change. Follow along and read other posts in this series here.



This post is authored by Alice Li, a Principal Email Engineer at Litmus.

Early on in my career in email marketing, a new director joined my team. On our welcome lunch with him, he made time to chat with every one of his new reports to get to know them. When it came to me, however, all he wanted to talk about was his frequent trips to Thailand. I made it clear that I had never been to Thailand, nor was I Thai, so I had no context for anything he was saying and was honestly puzzled as to why he kept pressing the topic.

Later on, an Asian colleague (who was also, decidedly, not Thai) revealed to me that the director did the exact same thing with him, yet went on to speak with our white colleagues about their actual hobbies and interests. It was difficult to avoid concluding that this director simply didn’t see past our race when it came to relating to us, and therefore wouldn’t take the step to get to know us as individuals who could speak on topics outside their ethnicity.

These aren’t unusual or isolated incidents. Asians in America are often stereotyped as homogenous monoliths and perpetual foreigners. It didn’t matter that my colleague and I were both Chinese American; Thai was close enough, right? Aren’t all Asians basically the same anyway? The “American” part clearly didn’t factor in either. We were all American and therefore already had a shared culture to draw from—one that I’m definitely more familiar with than Thai culture.

These microaggressions are akin to behavior that many Asian Americans face on a regular basis in the workplace. They may seem trivial on the face of things but are rooted in a long history of anti-Asian racism in America that still has a substantial impact on the lives and livelihoods of Asian Americans today.

In recent months, COVID-19 has shone a new light on the old problem of anti-Asian racism. On top of a massive increase of hate crimes against Asians and Asian-run businesses as well as the resulting spike in mental health crises, Asian Americans are now experiencing the highest increase in unemployment filings among any ethnic group—a 10,210% year-over-year increase versus 3,222% for Latino Americans, 2,904% for white Americans, and 1,927% for Black Americans.

Xenophobia and the model minority myth

It’s become exceedingly clear that the coronavirus has unearthed the xenophobia that many had presumed buried beneath the so-called “Model Minority” myth. Coined in 1966, the Model Minority myth “characterizes Asian Americans as a polite, law-abiding group who have achieved a higher level of success than the general population through some combination of innate talent and pull-yourselves-up-by-your-bootstraps immigrant striving” according to Tolerance.org.

Although many Asian Americans have embraced this as a positive stereotype, it actually subverts the progress of racial justice not only for other BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities but also within the Asian American community itself.

The Bamboo Ceiling

The supposedly “good” stereotype of the Model Minority contributes to the harmful phenomenon of the “Bamboo Ceiling.” Coined in 2005 as a variation on the “Glass Ceiling” metaphor that stunts women’s career paths in the workplace, the Bamboo Ceiling is another example of a barrier that prevents Asian Americans specifically from climbing above a certain point on the corporate ladder. This is substantiated by the fact that Asian Americans make up 27% of the corporate workforce, but occupy less than 14% of executive roles and only hold 2.6% of Fortune 500 board seats while making up almost 6% of the U.S. population.

How is this massive underrepresentation at the top levels possible, if we experience “good” stereotypes? The double-edged sword of Asians being perceived as heads-down, quiet but diligent heads-down workers undercuts many traits that corporate America would deem “leadership material”—i.e., assertiveness, risk-taking, and confident communication. It also prevents Asians from receiving the support they need if they don’t live up to what’s expected of a Model Minority—not only on an individual basis in school or at work, but also on a macro level where Asian Americans receive proportionately far less funding for social services despite having the largest wealth gap and rates of poverty.

Breaking down all racist stereotypes

On a societal level, the Model Minority myth has also been frequently used to drive a wedge between Asian Americans and Black and Brown folks. With the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, and so many others throwing #BlackLivesMatter into focus recently, many corporations, marketers, and individuals have been asking how they can communicate their support for the Black community.

One of the first things that we Asian Americans can do is to bust the Model Minority myth and the associated stereotypes of passivity in order to stand up against white supremacy in solidarity with Black and Brown folks.

Asian Americans have historically benefited from Civil Rights progress that has been pushed forward by Black people, and have historically stood by the Black community during the Civil Rights Era. It’s time to rise to the occasion again.

Casual racial microaggressions that Asian Americans often encounter underscore a far more destructive legacy of xenophobia and anti-Asian racism. Although the Model Minority myth has since whitewashed this history of racism, continuing to feed into “positive” Model Minority stereotypes of us does far more harm than good in the long run. Not only does it impede our career paths by supporting the Bamboo Ceiling, but it also allows Asian Americans to be used against Black and Brown people as examples of why systemic racism doesn’t exist. But we know it does, especially with COVID-19 reigniting old prejudices against Asians across the globe.

It’s time for us to unite in solidarity with other BIPOC by pushing for anti-racist practices— not only in the workplace but also for the rest of society. With Asians representing a significantly larger portion of marketing professionals in comparison to other BIPOC, we must use our collective voices to demand anti-racism in the workplace. Here are a couple of resources I would recommend:


Alice Li, Principal Email Engineer at LitmusAlice Li (she/her) is a total geek for email creation, from design to development. She began her career in email marketing immersed in the world of ESP creative agencies since 2007 at Epsilon, Responsys, and Oracle. From there, she went on to serve as the sole email developer for Shutterstock as well as working as a UI engineer on the UX team towards the end of her tenure there.

In her role as the Principal Email Engineer at Litmus, Alice remains a passionate evangelist for interactive and accessible email. She is honored to have spoken at Email Evolution Conference 2017 and 2019, Litmus Live conferences from 2017-2020, UNSPAM 2019, and to have received the 2018 EEC Stefan Pollard Award for “Email Marketer of the Year” as well as the 2020 Validity Email Hero Award for “Most Innovative.”

Although based in New York City, Alice was raised on the east side of Detroit, MI where she was lucky to be educated in social justice by Black women from an early age. As a Chinese American individual with “actual hobbies and interests,”, Alice justifies her occasionally regrettable BFA by painting artwork for galleries and publications as well as writing pop culture articles. When not under lockdown, she is also physically incapable of resisting a karaoke lounge, a ping pong table, or a tea parlor. You can follow her at @AliceLiCode.


Visit this page to see more in the series, or check back for our next guest post.

CM Group is a family of global marketing technology brands including Campaign Monitor, CM Commerce, Delivra, Emma, Liveclicker, Sailthru, and Vuture. By joining together these leading brands, CM Group offers a variety of world-class solutions that can be used by marketers at any level. Headquartered in Nashville, TN, CM Group has United States offices in Indianapolis, Los Angeles, New York City, Pittsburgh and San Francisco, and global offices in Australia, London, New Zealand, and Uruguay.

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Role Models Wins More Hearts & Minds With Email Marketing

UK-based organization Role Models strives to educate children beyond society’s solely-academic standard. Founded in 2014, Role Models is rooted in the belief that life skills and character development are vital to the well-being and potential of every child.

Role Models offers life skills courses that aren’t typically included in a traditional school curriculum, and further promotes the happiness, academic success, and overall achievement of each child who enters their program.

Through sharing helpful and free information to parents who are looking to expand their child’s education, Role Models uses the power of email marketing to build a trusted, generous, and credible brand.

With Campaign Monitor email software, Role Models finds success with aesthetically pleasing emails and an analytics dashboard that highlights real-time insights and key takeaways. Plus, with an easy-to-use platform and a dash of marketing confidence, the team can quickly—and successfully—shift strategies, battling obstacles as serious as a global pandemic.

From one-off Outlook sends to buttoned-up campaigns

Before working with Campaign Monitor, the Role Models team was not largely focused on email marketing, and instead limited their email use to generic Outlook sends. However, with the introduction of Campaign Monitor as the brand’s first ESP, the team is now capable of drafting and achieving new and exciting goals for the organization.

With the help of Campaign Monitor, Role Models can now organize subscribers in one, easily-accessible place, create segments, and embed call-to-action buttons, all while designing aesthetically pleasing emails that are always on-brand. Plus, the analytics dashboard offers real-time insight that the team uses to mold future campaigns and strategies.

A strong brand presence that yields financial growth

When asked about Campaign Monitor and how the platform contributes to Role Models’ overall growth, Founder and Managing Director Hugo Shephard told us that email has become the organization’s most important channel.

“Email is the most direct access we have to our customers. Because with other channels, like social media, you’re never entirely sure how engaged your audience really is,” says Shephard.

Campaign Monitor enables Role Models to create a platform where they can share their story, provide additional resources for parents, and continue to reiterate what they stand for as an organization. And in doing so, the team builds strong brand awareness and lasting relationships, which ultimately leads to a sweet result: conversions and revenues.

snippet from Role Model's emails, highlighting "This week's book recommendation" and "Developing a sense of passion and purpose in your child"

Data that makes the difference

Using the analytics dashboard, the Role Models team can dig into specific insights, like one takeaway that revealed that their audience engages more with early morning sends.

The team can also look deeper into what regions of the world are engaging with their newsletter. And for a brand that is focused on establishing a global presence, these learnings proved crucial for their international strategy. For example, the team noticed significant engagement drop offs in the Middle Eastern region.

With a little digging, they were able to find that many Middle Eastern countries don’t directly rely on email as a primary channel for marketing communications. With this information, Role Models could move forward with a personalized strategy that better suited their Middle Eastern audience.

insights and analytics dashboard from Campaign Monitor showing engagement metrics

Turning challenges into triumphs

Before COVID-19 evolved into a global pandemic, Role Models focused on sending one newsletter per month, with in-person courses that typically ran during holiday seasons. However, with health regulations and social distancing in place, the team quickly shifted their strategy. The monthly newsletters turned into bi-weekly sends, while irregular, in-person classes evolved into weekly online courses.

Snippet from Role Models email that focuses on "Online summer courses"

In short, in just 2.5 months, Role Models ran 30 times the number of courses than they did in all of 2019. The result? A 24% increase in bookings (approximately £2,450 in revenue over two months) and a revolutionized strategy to build on.

Plus, online courses during such trying times helped to strengthen the relationship between the Role Models brand and their growing customer base.

In the future, when COVID-19 restrictions lessen, the team plans on continuing their in-person courses. However, with new knowledge that online courses can be successful, they will also offer virtual follow-up courses to build on the in-person experience.

The post Role Models Wins More Hearts & Minds With Email Marketing appeared first on Campaign Monitor.