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Guest Blog: Marketing Email Guilt Trip

This is week 3 of Changing Course to a Career in Marketing: Back in the Saddle by Guest Blogger and Artisan Talent Sarah Antao. Get up to date with her first post here and last week's post here, then read on to learn about email marketing guilt.

This week: Email Guilt Trip

Another unit down, two more to go! We’ve reached the halfway point of my run with the Digital Marketing Circuit at General Assembly. This week, I studied Customer Acquisition and Channels and then Conversion and Retention Marketing. (One of the most professional sounding sentences I’ve ever written.)

We dealt with how a campaign targets their audience, creates traffic for their site, and then entices the customer to make a purchase and come back in the future. So, basically everything.

Considering we live in the Digital Age, I am fully aware that the ads I see in my Facebook feed and the ads that pop up on the side of my Google search are not a coincidence. There are so many cookies on my browser, my profile picture should be a Keebler elf. But I have to say, this part of the course forced me to think about the way I interact with media, which inevitably creeped me out a little bit (but maybe in a cool way?).


The Psychology of Email Creation

I’ve always appreciated people who know how to code entire websites, but what blew me away this week was how much psychology goes into building a landing page and getting people to sign onto emails.

From the color of the font to how and where the images direct your eye – there is so much involved in getting you, the potential customer, through the Acquisition stage (a.k.a., “I know that your brand exists, and I want to know more” stage). This part of the course broke down every step of how a campaign finds and keeps you on the site before you even make a purchase.  


You’ll notice from my phone’s home screen that I could use a little work when it comes to organizing the promotional emails that come in. What can I say? I love a good deal. (This photo was taken on a good day.) But when I’m working, I can get distracted by clutter of all species.

So, before I got cracking on the next unit, I went full Marie Kondo on my inbox – deleting and unsubscribing, until I was left with a few retail promos and newsletters. I’ve never been one to skip ads that interrupt my podcasts or turn down pamphlets handed out by strangers in front of my train stop. But I weirdly felt empowered by choosing to unsubscribe from all the promotions that clutter my Gmail.

Should I Unsuscribe?

Two cups of coffee later, I went back into my coursework account and lo and behold, the next unit was a deep dive into email marketing. Suddenly I felt this huge wave of guilt. I just spent 90 gleeful minutes wiping out somebody else’s work that probably took about 6 weeks to develop.

For some perspective, it’s a little self-centered of me to think that my one “unfollow” would set off some kind domino effect. A sample of some real thoughts I had:

If I mess with someone’s metrics, then their campaign fails, which will make them cranky, which will cause them to not pay attention to where they are walking, which will cause them to stub their toe, which will make them even more cranky – so when they come home they’ll slam the door, which will scare poor Gary, the Basset Hound, who doesn’t know what’s going on because he doesn’t know what email is.


.… and guys, I just couldn’t do that to Gary.

A few minutes into this guilt trip, I decided to take a lap around my block to kick the work-from-home punchiness and then went back in for the rest of the unit.

Overall, Units 2 and 3 felt a little busier compared to the last, since they had so much ground to cover. Designing the second and third stages of the campaign brief has been a lot easier on me with the help of Brianna, my mentor, and the notes I took after meeting with Christian about his website. Like I said last week, you’ll get a lot more out of this course if you have something to work on that is real and specific.

It’s hard in this day and age to completely avoid or be free from every ad strategy attempting to grab your attention, but it is pretty easy to tune them out.

I think the biggest draw I took this week, in particular, is that digital marketing is not so much about reaching the biggest audience with a viral message, but creating a message built with a lot of insight and variety so it can cut through the noise to reach that key audience.

That wraps it up for today! Come back next week to see what happens when I try to do math on purpose!


Sarah Antao.jpgSarah Antao is a freelance Editor and Writer from Rochester, NY (Home of Kodak and Taye Diggs). She enjoys writing and performing with her sketch group, Supper Club and listening to true crime podcasts. Apart from a career in marketing, Sarah considers her other dream job to be one of the judges on a tv cooking competition. She can be found on instagram and @supperclubchicago on Facebook.

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