Using Emotional Intelligence to Achieve Email Zen
Email geeks work hard to be the experts in our field, so it can be frustrating to feel torn between serving internal leadership versus what subscribers want. But when we increase our emotional intelligence, we can effectively serve both, streamline our own workflows, and feel really good about it throughout the process. I’ll cover tactics like listening to understand, giving before you get, and using data to support or challenge a perspective so we can help people become more effective in their work and relationships.
About: Kait Creamer
Kait Creamer advocates for innovative and inclusive email marketing both in and outside her work as Framer’s CRM Marketing Manager. Vice chair of the EEC’s Events and Education committee, featured on Phrasee’s “Who to Follow” series, and 2019 Stefan Pollard Email Marketer of the Year award winner, she’s an expert and enthusiast in email, data, and marketing automation, continually pushing for next best campaign. Prior to joining the Framer team, Kait managed the email and digital marketing strategies at Boulder innovators Scaled Agile and MakeMusic. She believes thoughtful design, clear communication, and human-first development can (and should) change the world for good.
Follow Kait on Twitter: https://twitter.com/KaitCreamer
Emotional intelligence, I’m sure everybody has a bit of a chaotic week behind them and maybe ahead of them. And I think emotional intelligence given the global pandemic at this moment is particularly important. So with that, I’m going to tell you all about my very worst day at work. We’ll go back to 2018, when I was working at music software company make music based out of Boulder, Colorado. make music does music education and music notation software among a few other things. And so in at the start of 2018, one of the big things that we were spending a lot of time talking about was our most favourite GDPR. Now, I don’t know if you guys remember, specifically, what happened around GDPR what those conversations were looking like sounding like with your teams. But for my part, I can remember one very particular day in April, before we were ready for GDPR when I had this brilliant idea. Now, I’ll walk you through the story in a minute. But I want to just paint a picture of what this one particular Friday looked like for me at work. So I came in to work on Gosh, let’s see may 4, yeah, may 4. I showed up in my computer, I was really excited. It was a Friday, I had this amazing campaign planned around GDPR. I was so thrilled to see how it did. And I pull up my computer screen, and everything’s black and waiting for everything to load. And before I get into my ESP, before I get into Asana, or any of my daily tools, I pull up my email, as an email marketer is what to do. The very first thing I see in my inbox is a response from one of our customers who had gotten this particular email I was so excited about. And the first thing I saw in my inbox was your lack of tact disturbs me. What, what is this? The second email was How dare you send something so absolutely tasteless. The third was, wow, rude. It was one hateful email after another of people who I had just pissed right off, one after another, my inbox was full. And this because I had only recently set up rerouting in my inbox to make sure that all of the direct responses that came through our ESP actually went straight to me. And for the most part, they were filtered for out of office replies and things like that. But for these particular emails, they landed right in my inbox straight from our customers, just saying, What have you done? I was absolutely mortified. For my part, I was seeing nothing but outrage and anger from our customers who I had done my very best to delight. And of course, you know, I’m not a people pleaser at all. I was just like, oh my god, what have I done? This is horrible. Because as you guys may know, you know, I’m working from a place from good intent. Now, to back up the story a little bit so you understand why I was getting what I was getting in my inbox. Hi, Elliot. So you understand the story. You know, make music, like I said is music education and music notation brands and our conversation around GDPR revolve very much around Well, most of our market is in the US. So this is a good opportunity for us to pivot our strategy moving forward, be a little more thoughtful for our customers. But we didn’t have a huge international audience and we weren’t going to in the near future, because our smart music subscribers, teachers and students. They only had licencing to music that was available in the States. So we knew we had some subscribers who were international but not a huge customer base. From around January through April, we said to ourselves, well, you know what we are comfortable saying goodbye to our international subscriber base for now. So they don’t have to get yet another, please double opt in from GDPR email. And of course, in my thinking like, well, I don’t want to send it just another GDPR email, I don’t want to send something else that’s just gonna land in the inbox. And like, some of you may have seen with the COVID-19 emails, when you see a lot of the same message over and over and over again, it can just sound kind of tone deaf in the end. So I had planned not to send anything for GDPR. But the more we talked to our tech team, and our cmo and our engineers and other people involved, they said, We were we know, we do want to send a thing, just in case we want to make sure we’re covered. So I in April, a mere month before the GDPR deadline, decided, well, if I’m gonna send a thing, I want it to be good. And so in my thinking, I’m working towards this may 25 deadline, I realised I don’t have a tonne of time, it’s the end of April, what can I do that stands out from the pack when everybody else’s inboxes are getting flooded. I can lean on Star Wars Day. You see, may the fourth the Friday that I was talking about my Doom Friday was a particularly impactful day for our smart music brand. Now, like I said before, smart music is music education software for teachers and students. And lucky for us, our Star Wars repertoire has always been the top performing music in smart music. So I saw this as a perfect opportunity to highlight some of the repertoire we were putting in the product, we knew that Darth Vader was going to perform really well. And I don’t know how many of you know or once were a middle school band kid. But if you give a seventh grade trombone player, the Imperial March and tell him to go home and practice his instrument. By golly, he’s gonna go home and practice his instrument. We knew Star Wars worked for our audience. So my thinking was that, let’s put together an email that highlights repertoire people are already really excited about and tells them exactly what we’re doing with GDPR and kind of explains everything in the context of, Hey, we want to keep this relationship with you. And here’s why. So, in my thinking, and just preparing a message for this, I wanted it to be really personal. And I thought the message needed to be a little bit different for people who were really engaged with our emails open to everything, were anxious to hear about everything we had to say. And then there were people who didn’t really open anything that we sent super often, and maybe were less engaged and might need a little more of a push to understand why relationship with us and why engaging with Star Wars repertoire and smart music was a good idea. So I put together two separate emails. I don’t know how many of you are Star Wars fans in the audience. But if you like me know Star Wars in any capacity. I will say right now that I’m not a big Star Wars fan, but I’ve dated a couple of them. And I knew this very famous quote from Darth Vader, I find your lack of faith disturbing. So I promise all of this ties together. So I came across this blog post just ahead of May the fourth I put together two separate versions of a GDPR Star Wars email that had links to Imperial March and Star Wars medleys and all these things that middle school students might be really really excited about and their teachers would be excited about too because if students are practising teachers are happy. So put together these emails this one particular email for non openers was all put together with really cool gifts, links to repertoire or fader references, all I needed was a subject line and it needed to go out. Then, of course, this quote, I find your lack of faith disturbing. This is a quote that I came across again, or a variety of it anyway, that I came across again in one of my favourite industry blogs and that particular blog title. Two days before May the fourth happened. The particular blog I came across was eight awesome May the fourth subject lines you haven’t used yet. And the first subject line on that particular article was, I find your lack of open emails disturbing. Now, of course now that you all know what actually happened in my inbox on May the fourth know that maybe the subject line didn’t land great. But of course, am I Mind I see this I recognise the reference immediately. I know it’s a perfect fit for this particular audience because they haven’t opened in a while. It’s relevant. It’s contextual. It’s funny, it’s cheeky. I ran it by my team of mixed Star Wars fans and not Star Wars fans, everybody got a good laugh out of it? And they said, Yeah, let’s do it. This is perfect. And of course, it did not land. I felt like an absolute monster. I was getting replies to people who saw that subject line and thought that I was just some angry email marketer trying to call them out on not opening all of my heartfelt emails, which clearly was not the case, I was trying to make people laugh the way the subject line had made me laugh, but it missed the mark. The joke went right over their heads, people didn’t get it. And, of course, like I said, the people pleaser that I am, I responded to maybe a dozen people personally saying I’m so so sorry, it was a joke. It was a reference for this particular Star Wars line. Like we just thought it would be funny. And kind of the salt in the woods. I don’t know if it made it better or worse was that so many people responded. And they were like, oh, now that you pointed out, it is funny. So context, not content is king. And my mom used to say something all the time. To me growing up, she said, Kate, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. And while my mother is maybe a little extreme, she is absolutely right. Good intent is not enough, we can do our very best to do right by our subscribers. But if you don’t understand our context, or if they think we’re meaning something in it in a different way than we actually mean it, we can totally miss the mark with them and actually risk damaging our relationships with them. Email is hard. It’s our job as marketers, as developers, as designers, to build communication that works for our stakeholders to build communication that works for our audience, our subscribers, and to build things that we can actually do at scale. I mean, I think one of the things that goes on, addressed too often is that we all have this ideal state of how things would look in a perfect world. But when we’re trying to balance the needs of our subscribers with the needs of our stakeholders on the timelines that we’re trying to balance them on, we have a really tough job. It’s not always easy to meet the needs of everyone. But, you know, our job is to learn all of the, you know, the table roles, the outlook conditionals, the all the different ways that we need to make email accessible. And should you left a line or should you send her text there are so many nitty gritty things. And deliverability is another thing that I mean, many of you have probably chatted with your teams, and deliverability is not even a word that they knew existed. So when it’s your job to know all of the nitty gritty, and then also meet the needs of your subscribers and your business owners, that’s really tough. They’re not going to learn to speak your language. So you have to learn to speak theirs. And the way that you do that is through emotional intelligence. So what is EQ? EQ technically stands for emotional quotient. I use it interchangeably with emotional intelligence just because it’s easier, faster, and I will trip on my words guaranteed if I try to say emotional intelligence every time. But the technical definition of EQ, psychologist Daniel Goleman actually said it’s composed of five different components. Those five components are self awareness, self regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill. Now, we’ll come back to specifically what each of those components addresses. But for now, I want you to understand it in the context of your own experience. So think about a teacher who made a particular difference in your life. I want you to actually visualise your experience in that classroom. Think of the teacher’s name, maybe write a thank you note. If you have extra time this week and send it to them teachers are so undervalued. And think about what in particular made that teacher stand out to you who made a difference and why. Now, the interesting thing about that is that teachers are paid to help you and support you in your IQ. So things like your mathematical ability, your spatial recognition and analytical thinking short term memory. bless all of the teachers who had to teach to sh T’s AC t In the States, standardised testing is just a doozy. And they’re brought in to teach you how to do well on those things. But if you think about it, probably the teacher who you just considered the teacher who really, really made a difference in your life is not a teacher who helped you the most with your IQ. It’s probably the teacher who supported your EQ. And when I say EQ here, what I mean is the teachers who’ve made you feel empowered, and supported, and creative and able to do the things that you want to do to be the best person that you can be. And the way that they do that is by understanding and supporting your emotional intelligence with theirs. So there was a really interesting study done by I think, the Cambridge Institute of Technology years ago, and they actually mapped out What does life success look like? Like when you’re financially successful, when you’re financially, you’re stable in your job, you’re seeing career growth, you’re happy at home, all of these things that can paint a picture of a successful life. What does that look like? And how does that happen? And the one thing that they found consistent throughout the study, the causation is high emotional intelligence. If someone has high emotional intelligence in life, they can navigate all of the nitty gritty, the the bumps, and pits and peaks and valleys, things like that. Emotional Intelligence makes you successful, because you’re adaptable. And another interesting thing about how emotional intelligence plays out is its relationship with imposter syndrome. Now, imposter syndrome is one of my favourite things to talk about, because the psychology behind it is absolutely fascinating. And what imposter syndrome tells us is that what we know is here, and what we think others know, is here. imposter syndrome tells us the lie that we don’t have the skills or the ability to do the things that we need to do to be successful or to be in the role that we are. imposter syndrome tells us that it’s all a ruse, and we got here by accident. But what’s really cool about that, is that it’s not true. If we look back at that study with Cambridge Institute, and we see that emotional intelligence is actually thing, the thing that makes you most successful, I would bet that you can look back and see, oh my God, I’ve spent so much time with imposter syndrome worrying about my IQ, my skills, my my mathematical ability, my spatial recognition, things like that. We’re talking all of that up to how we feel successful. And it’s a false representation. So if we actually redirect that imposter syndrome energy, so anytime I’m feeling like, Oh, I really don’t deserve to be where I am. If I think back and think about, oh, well, that’s, I’m only concerned about this 15% of my success in my IQ, we redirect that energy into actually working on building our emotional intelligence, we can see a 450% increase in our just general success in our career in our personal relationships, things like that, when you don’t give imposter syndrome that power, and you can redirect that energy to working on your EQ, you’ll find a lot more flow in your relationships and your technical success at work. Also, this is not the Deathstar. So the way that you redirect that energy is understand that what you know is right here, it’s an intersection of what the people around, you know, I’m sure you have all heard the saying that you are a composite of the five people closest to you in your life. And this is kind of how our knowledge expands, right, you know, an intersection of all the things of the people around you the things you’ve read, the ways you’ve informed yourself the podcast, you’ve listened to what you know, that whole picture is totally unique to you. So lean into that and let emotional intelligence be your guide for success. How can we lean into that? How can we build those skills? You do that by asking good questions, and listening with intent. So when you feel ill equipped to deal with a particular situation, or you feel like you don’t belong somewhere, like you’re not the expert, the ways that you can help fight that feeling of imposter syndrome is asking about the things that you don’t know about. So reach out to your network, build relationships with people try to understand like, okay, you know, for me personally deliverability I feel like I am an absolute noob at that. Dentists on the call is a perfect example of somebody who I look to when I feel like oh, I’m in too deep on this particular conversation. Like, I know Know who I can go to on my network to fill me in? And so ask about the things that you don’t know about and ask with curiosity really, really look for that expertise from the people around you. And one of my favourite questions to to ask this sounds absolutely silly and really meta is what questions Haven’t I asked that I should? So the way I think we can highlight the importance of this particular question is by understanding that all of the conversations you have all of the questions that you ask, they’re all born out of the perspective that you have going into conversation, right? So I don’t know what I don’t know about engineering. Or if I were to become, I don’t know, a construction worker, I can pick up a hammer and drill. But I don’t know what I don’t know. And so it’s really important to ask the people who are the experts? What questions Haven’t I asked that maybe I should be? There was a really interesting study done that said that in job interviews, the candidates who asked the most questions were actually valued most highly by the interviewers, because the interviewer is perceived their questions, not as a lack of intelligence, but as an investment in the outcome as curiosity, and as engagement. So never be afraid to ask silly questions. There aren’t silly questions, just ask the questions that are on your mind. Work with your network, to figure out where your gaps may be, and then work with the people in your organisation and outside of your organisation to figure out where those gaps may be how you can build those relationships. Obviously, if I had asked myself, What questions Haven’t I asked that I should, maybe I could have avoided that may the fourth subject line debacle? Because had I asked the question of myself, how will this be perceived by people who absolutely do not understand that reference? I could have figured out that maybe it wasn’t gonna land super well. One of my favourite TED talks of all time, I don’t know how many of you are also super big TED Talk nerds, but I frequently find myself going down TED Talk rabbit holes, and this remains one of my favourites. So it’s Celeste Headley. So she’s a radio host. Absolutely brilliant. She gave a talk on 10 ways to have a better conversation. And in that talk, she, I’m not going to spoil the point. In that talk, Celeste mentions all the things that people say to help you build better relationships and have better conversations, things like advice they give so like nodding and smiling. Yeah, absolutely. gesturing or mirroring people’s body language, asking good questions. But what that advice never addresses is the fact that there is no reason to learn to show you’re paying attention, if you are in fact paying attention. Nobody needs to tell me to smile and nod if I’m actually engaging with someone and smiling and nodding because I agree with what they say. You have to listen with the intent to hear and understand rather than listening with the intent to respond, because if you’re listening with the intent to respond, you may miss your audience, your stakeholders, your subscribers point entirely. So listen, just to listen. Calvin Coolidge famously said no man ever listened his way out of a job? No woman either Calvin Coolidge. But it’s absolutely right. When you take the time to listen and understand, then you have the opportunity to get an inside look at what your stakeholders at work, what your peers, what your subscribers, what just global audiences are looking for? What are their goals? What are their priorities? How can you help? So the first way that you want to address this, of course, we’re talking about balancing business initiatives with subscriber needs. And the first way that you can build subscriber relationships is with best practices. So a lot of people go online looking for best practices and benchmarking. So what’s the best time of day to send or how many people should I send my very first newsletter to? Or should I send her a line? Or should I left align my text and there are some things that are objective, but a lot of what we do in marketing is very subjective. It’s very soft and fuzzy. And of course, we can always point back to the data. But best practices are only a start. If you really think about it when you’re looking for industry, averages, benchmarks, things like that. It’s just an aggregate of what works really well for everyone. And if you’re thinking about businesses, the way you think about people Businesses are all different. What works for everybody else’s subscribers may work okay for years, but chances are what works is the aggregate of what works for everyone else’s subscribers, it’s probably not going to be the absolute best thing in the world for your subscribers, they’re two different things. So I say that just to encourage you to be cautious when you get into best practices test, find out what works for your audience. Obviously, you want to be kind and understanding and thoughtful, and best practices are a great way to start with that. But also listen, find out what’s working for them, what’s not working for them. And then you can start differentiating yourself from the average, you can stand out from what works for everyone by doing what works for you. A perfect example of this is in my last role at another Colorado company called scaled agile, now scaled agile, it’s a great company, they teach enterprise organisations, how to be better at in their roles as release train engineers and Scrum masters. And it’s professional education. And when I started at scaled agile, I came in, and my first task was to help work on their conference emails. So the safe summit, and the safe summit was always like, big party, there are a couple hosted around the world. And I was asked to help promote the summit. So I looked at the email, and immediately, well, there’s so many images, like it’s so wordy, I know exactly what I need to do. Now, because I had heard the old anecdotes that said, Well, you know, 50 words per image or not, don’t use more than 200 words, you know, before the fold or limit your CTAs or all of these different things. So, in my mind, I had this perfectly crafted email that I was like, you know, I’m going to put this email in place, and it’s going to the rates are gonna skyrocket. I’m gonna, you know, my head is swelling, of course, because I know exactly what we need to do to make our email marketing better stepping into a brand new role. And, of course, it worked really nicely. It did exactly everything I hoped it would do. It was short, it was conversational, it was super fun. check that off the list. Move on to the next email that I was tasked with, which was one of our educational newsletters. Now, it’s bringing back to the context of why we sent out these particular emails, we’re helping people like release train engineers, and Scrum masters and product owners do better in their roles. So very academic, very wordy. These newsletters The first time I opened them up, I was like, Oh, I we, we got a long way to go. And I know exactly where to start. And I was so confident about what was going to work for our subscribers. Then I started changing images, I took out all references of click here. I trimmed it down from seven buttons, the two buttons, it did all of the things that best practices tell us to do. And for the life of me while I worked at scaled agile, I could not prove that any of it helped our brand at all. In fact, what we learned is that our subscribers actually preferred longer wordier more academic and more link heavy content. It was hard for me to accept that. But it was a great lesson in that what works for everyone, or what you think works for everyone may not work for you. So be sensitive to the data. Make sure you’re listening instead of just bullheaded link going forward with your strategy hoping that one day your subscribers will get on board. What works for everyone else may not work for you. And, astonishingly, with this particular email, we could track that 75% of the people who are opening it are spending more than 10 seconds on the email. So if any of you have heard the goldfish stat quoted all the time, that’s like humans now have a shorter attention span than goldfish when it comes their inbox. So don’t make emails that are that take you more than seven seconds to get through that this quote there is no way that people should be engaging with these emails the way that they are. And yet, they absolutely love everything that we sent that was super, super long, super wordy, super hyperlink heavy. That’s all to say that there isn’t one thing that works for everyone. So if you’re not testing, then it could be a swing and a miss like you. You don’t know how your emails are performing, if you’re not regularly checking in with your subscribers. So So seek opportunities to challenge assumptions with that find ways to test things that might be a little bit unconventional. Of course, be thoughtful as to what works for your business owners. What works for you. subscriber’s. But if you can point back to the data at any point, you can avoid sticky conversations by challenging assumptions and saying, Okay, well we know this works, or this didn’t work based on what the data is showing us. Now, one of my colleagues, in a previous role, asked me at one point, he said, we want to send an email, and I want your advice. Like, we we need to tell people about this thing. But how should we write it? And I asked him, I said, Well, what what’s the goal? What are you really trying to achieve with this? And he said, Well, we want them to give us their money. And that’s it. That’s all he said, he stopped there. I was like, Well, that seems like a silly reason to send an email, obviously, businesses run on revenue. But if the only thing you’re trying to do is drain, your subscribers have money and you’re not adding any value, you’re gonna burn out that relationship pretty quick. It’s not a thing, subscribers don’t respond to that. What they do respond to, is value. So an example of how this has worked in my life in particular, I do a lot of travel for conferences normally, not now. But I do a lot of travel. And I have seen that one of my suitcases was just about to explode. And it was time for me to get a new suitcase. So I saw this particular brand on social media. And I’d seen him for, you know, a month years, I don’t know how long but I was aware that they were out there and existed. And the more I started digging into this brand, I realised that oh, this is maybe the brand I want to shop with, because the suitcases pretty much indestructible, I can sit on it with a week’s worth of clothes packed into a tiny little carry on without fear of the zipper exploding. It’s easy to roll around the airport, it charges my phone, no problem, it meets all the needs that I need it to meet. And because I hadn’t been shouted at by this brand, to give them my money over and over and over again, I felt that I knew exactly where I can go exactly at the right time to get the product that would meet my needs. I was so excited to buy from them when I did. And I’m so pleased with the product that I got because it met every single one of my expectations. So it’s our role as marketers to look for ways to offer value first, instead of just asking people to give us their money all the time or saying 70% off today’s your last chance or guilting them into thinking that they have to buy from you right now. Or they’ll be a bad person like that’s that’s not a good way to build a relationship. So the way to build that relationship is by offering value. First. I want to show you a few examples of some other brands who do this really well. So Strava is the first one obviously, this is a fitness tracking app that I use in the email geeks community, that’s a quick little shout out to that community. If anyone needs running buddies join the email group on Strava. But one of the reasons that I love it is that it gives me back my data and helps show me how I’m doing. So it’s not asking me to upgrade my plan. It’s just showing that, okay, I’ve had five active days run 18 miles, etc, etc. It’s not asking for anything this email is purely giving. Same with this next lift email. So slightly different strategy, but they’re giving you value in showing you how to ride. So making it really easy and understanding. Look, the learning curve is really low. Here, it’s super easy to get from point A to point B, here’s how you do it. It’s not saying schedule your next ride now or like 10% off, not everything needs to be a coupon or a call to purchase. Some things can just be informative and helpful and valuable for the subscriber just in the spirit of building relationship. Finally, the last email that I want to highlight here is from Rei, Rei does a great job of this to begin with they do. They really own the space in terms of acting outside and getting people to think differently about the way they engage with the outdoors. And what I love about this is that again, they’re not asking you to buy, they’re asking you to just go outside and enjoy the outdoors. They’re building a community around shared values, and they do a really good job of highlighting those shared values in their email, and building that sense of relationship and community and rapport with their subscribers. freezy did a study a couple years, maybe last year a couple years ago, I don’t know on the return on ethics and they quoted the return on ethics as the impact that marketing and communicating to customers in an ethical and responsible way has on a business. ethical marketing is good for business and good for your subscribers. It’s not just one or the other, it’s a good way to build relationships on kindness and understanding. And I don’t know if you all feel the same way I do during this time. But I feel that in the midst of a global pandemic, ethical marketing is more important now than ever. And, by contrast, fear tactics are bad for dinner parties and bad for the inbox, their virtual dinner parties do for that matter. And the reason I bring that up is that I see it all the time in marketing. And when I say fear tactics, a lot of marketers kind of roll their eyes at first and till we start talking about what that actually means I’m not talking about monsters or zombies, or saying that somebody is going to chase you out of your house in the middle of the night, if you don’t buy something. But saying things like, well, you’re not going to be one of the in crowd if you don’t have this, or now’s your last chance. And if you don’t buy these jeans, right at this very moment that you’re not going to be cool, or this will be your last chance ever fight using fear to motivate people to buy, you’re actually damaging your relationship with them long term. And there’s a really fine balance here. So you can be transparent without being fear mongering. I’ve had several questions about this in the past of people who are really working to find that balance. And I love that that’s a conversation that I get to have. Because there are a lot of people who say, well, this actually is the last chance to buy and if they don’t buy today, then maybe conference prices are going to go up. And so how do I communicate that transparently without being scary? And my advice, and my recommendation is to just treat your subscribers the same way you would treat a friend, right? If it’s totally okay to text a friend and say, Hey, we’re going out for dinner tomorrow, let me know if you want to attend. That’s that’s normal, transparent, clear, concise communication. What’s not normal or kind or clear, concise is texting your friends saying we’re going out for dinner tomorrow. And if you don’t come, I’m never talking to you again. And that’s kind of the difference that I mean, when I say fear tactics are bad, like don’t scare your subscribers understand that they’re whole humans with whole lives and other things going on. And do your best to be kind and supportive and helpful. One of the ways you can do that is by reducing or eliminating three things for them. So the first of those choice, anxiety, second being total workload, and third being perceived complexity. When I talk about choice, anxiety, let me highlight this particular example from Harvard Harvard Business Review. This one’s really cool for me, because Harvard Business Review actually has three different plans. And chances are, you know, they want you to buy the most expensive plan, it’s good for their revenue. But they’re making it really easy for purchasers in this particular email, because they have just one plan, obviously, the one they want you to buy if just one plan highlighted at the top, and further plans highlighted further below. So instead of giving you five different CTAs, all in that first, like 300 pixels at the top of the email, they’re actually reducing the workload that you have to do by comparing things side by side they’re prioritising for you. Yes, it works out well for them. But it’s also a really easy psychological tactic to use. So use visual hierarchies to reduce the choices people have to make in any given split second. Another way you can do that is by reducing total workload. So this is something that I’m dealing with a lot in my new role at framer. So framer is a design prototyping company. And it’s an amazing tool. I love it. I’m super bought into it, I moved across the world for it. But it’s really hard, right? So designers who have historically presented designs to stakeholders on the whiteboard or drawn things out, suddenly they see a tool that involves code, and they’re like, Oh, my God, this is terrifying. I can’t do this. So my big job at framer right now is to help designers understand that code isn’t so scary, I have to reduce their total workload. doordash has done this beautifully in this email by walking through exactly the steps it takes for you to get food at your door. So instead of walking through every little pedantic thing, like enter your credit card here and do this here. They’re breaking it down into really easy consumable steps. So you see, oh, it’s super simple for me to get coffee with my co workers and $15 off. And here’s all I have to do. So if you can minimise the steps it takes for someone to engage with you to build a relationship with you and understand how to use your product or your service. This, you’re reducing their total workload and really facilitating a cleaner, easier, happier relationship. And finally, you want to reduce or eliminate perceived complexity. So this particular email I really like because it’s explaining a meal kit, and meal kits can be, I think, pretty overwhelming for people who don’t really cook that much at home at all. And what’s cool about them is what’s cool about this particular email, is that it’s showing how simple it is to order this to get 60% off. And to engage with this company, that little chunk at the bottom shows very clearly, here’s how this works. And here’s why you should trust us. So they’ve streamlined the whole process. And it makes it really easy for people to decide whether or not they want to engage with them. The next thing that you have to do is to define your strategy and tactics. So you’ve got things set up on the subscriber side, you know exactly how you want your emails to work, how you want to talk to people, and how you want to build those relationships. But a lot of times when you go to conferences like this, or you get so many ideas, and you’re like, Oh, I’m gonna build this amazing thing for my subscribers, I’m so excited about it. It all of a sudden gets really overwhelming because you’re like, oh, how do I prioritise was a mess. So at this point, you want to define your strategy and your tactics. The way that you do this is by thinking of strategy and tactics as a boat. So strategy being your rudder and tactics being your engine. So strategy tells you where to go, tactics actually get you there. They work together. And the way to define all of your tactics, your strategy, why you’re doing what you’re doing, and your job. So you ask the question, why does it matter that I show up? You have to be like a little kid, you know, have toddlers like ask why 1000 times, and we largely tolerate it because we know that they’re genuinely curious and they just want to understand the world better. Be that toddler, ask why 1000 times. And understand when you ask why you do the things that you do that you always have something to learn. So when you’re talking to your stakeholders, when you’re talking to your peers, defining your strategy and tactics, make sure you involve them in the conversation. And ask them why they want the things that they want and what you can do to support that. Now, if you like me, walk away from these conferences with a list of 1000 things to do, and you don’t know where to start. This is what I would recommend doing. Do the impact confidence and ease method. So I call it the ice method. It’s really easy way to prioritise strategy and tactics. So ask yourself the question, what kind of impact will this make? How close does it get me to my goal? How Sure, am I that it will work? And has a similar tactic worked well, before? an ease? How quick is this task? And does it depend on other people or systems? So when I’m saying, okay, I want to make all of my email templates accessible. That’s one task, I’m going to score that task on impact confidence and ease scale of one to 10. For all of those things, you add them up, start your tasks in a spreadsheet, top to bottom highest score to lowest score, and then all of a sudden, you know exactly what you need to work on first. It’s your prioritisation method. So coming back to the five key pieces of emotional intelligence that Daniel Goleman told us about. Let’s ask ourselves the question, what’s my value proposition? And is this message relevant to my audience? So when you’re working on emails, working with your stakeholders, be able to answer these questions. Are you self aware? for self regulation? How frequently Am I reaching out? And am I prioritising proven tactics? Also, do I have too many exclamation points? Because honestly, like if I see another free super last chance email from a particular retail brand with 1000 exclamation points, I’m gonna unsubscribe entirely. I don’t like being shouted at and your subscribers probably don’t either. Motivation, what am I doing to improve? And how do I measure success? empathy? What problem is this solving? And how will this make my audience feel? So again, coming back to the why this is something I worked on this morning with my team, we’re putting together a webinar that we’re really excited about. And when we were working to develop the description, we kept asking ourselves, why why should subscribers care? What is this doing for them? Why are we giving them value with this? Why? Why do they need to understand this particular skill? ask why over and over and you’ll build that empathy a lot faster. And social skill so My jokes funny to those from different backgrounds had I asked myself this question before I sent out that infamous May the fourth email, I may have gone with a different subject line, but Selebi, we all learn from our mistakes, right? And you need influence to act on empathy. So it’s really important that no matter how much you play, gatekeeper for your subscribers, no matter how much you talk about protecting them, and doing right by them, if you don’t have the influence in your organisation to help your subscribers, you’re not going to be able to do anything. So make sure you balance both. Do that you have to build internal relationships, and open that conversation so others can invest in your success, like I told you earlier, asking why is really important, trying to understand others perspectives, and backgrounds and priorities will help you build those relationships. Start from when I worked at making music, I had worked for two years to get on a new ESP, I was really frustrated with ours. And I had found a new ESP that I knew was going to be cheaper, it was going to be faster, it was going to help our team scale even more, I was super stoked about it. And for a literal years, I was begging our cmo, please like I found the tool that’s gonna work for us. And the answer I kept hearing was not yet. And I was getting so frustrated. I was thinking, well, I’ve proven out everything on my end. Like I know why this will work for us. Why not yet. And it was because our cmo wasn’t a mind reader. I hadn’t told him the whole story. I was thinking of the ask for a new ESP only from my perspective. But from his perspective, he’s not as concerned about my budget, or my time, you know, as I can manage those things, what he’s concerned about his time from the engineering side of things, how this would affect the annual budget, what kind of timeframe would it take for us to switch over? There were things that he was concerned about that I wasn’t addressing. And a good way to address that is by balancing both vanity metrics and metrics that matter. A lot of times higher ups and companies will ask you about things like open rates and click through rates clicked open rates, unsub, rates, stuff like that, because that’s what they hear is important. Those are your vanity metrics. And they do tell an important part of the story. But it is just part of the story. The metrics that matter are the business metrics that everyone on your team is working towards things like retention, churn, customer lifetime value, how much time they spend on your site, if your newsletter, how many articles do they click through? how engaged are they? Those are the business metrics. And those are the things you can speak to as a marketer, that will highlight the importance of what you’re doing in the context of everything else. One of my least favourite phrases is, we’ve always done it this way. Now, we’ve always done it this way, is a really dangerous phrase. Because if you’re doing something the same way all the time, you can never improve. It drives me crazy when I hear this. So I vote that we burned this phrase to the ground and instead start trying something new. Now, in order to test new things, I know a lot of times stakeholders are really resistant to trying new things because they’re scared of the damage that it might cause. So what I would recommend doing to kind of combat this phrase in a very accessible, friendly, safe way, is to start testing on small scale. So if you want to try something totally extreme, and bananas and your stakeholders are absolutely not on board with trying it with your whole audience, could you try with 1% of your audience? What about 2% 10% anything that gives you statistical significance is worth testing. Because if you can test something new and make iterative changes to improve your programme on the whole, then you can take it back to the stakeholders and say, Look what we’ve done. Look what we’ve learned, and how we can improve our entire business as a result of what we’ve learned. The cool thing about that is that data helps you uninvite personal preference or bias to the conversation. If you have metrics to point back to, then you can say look, this either worked really well or it didn’t work at all. And sometimes it’s actually the most frustrating thing for me is when a change doesn’t affect the metrics at all. And you’re just like okay, well crap, prove nothing. But having those metrics to point back to is so important for building productive conversations and growth within your organisation. objective is better than subjective, that is friendly. Doesn’t matter if you like a particular design better than another design, if you can show demonstrate the results of what works better for your audience. Now one of the things that we used to do at scaled agile that I really enjoyed We had meeting agreements. So we would turn up to meetings and we had agreements like, Don’t stare at your screen all the time or, you know, be engaged with conversation. But the one that really made the biggest difference for me that I found really compelling was assume positive intent. This is something that we do so often for ourselves, but we forget for other people. Rene brown highlights this concept really well with something with a phrase she uses. She says the story I’m telling myself is, and understanding that humans always operate from the perspective of stories, they’re always telling themselves stories, and everybody has a story that they tell themselves about what’s going on in the situation, based on the facts that they know, and their context and perspective and background. We’re all the heroes in our own stories, because we know we’re coming from a place of positive intent. We know that all of the things that made us make the decision we made today or eat the food we ate this morning, things like that. We’re all the heroes in our own stories where we’re the protagonist, because we know we’re coming from a place of good intent. But what would happen if we started assuming that of other people? One of my friends cam, she asks this question of her kids all the time, and I love it. She says, How can anyone know what you mean? unless you tell them with your mouth out loud? tell people what you’re thinking, why you’re doing the things that you’re doing. Because people are the heroes in all of their own stories. And if there’s something that you’re doing that’s challenging them, or putting them in a difficult position, it’s hard for them to assume positive intent for you. So if you’re clear and kind and open those communication channels and tell people what your intent is, there’ll be a lot more understanding and more willing to work with you. You have to help them to understand though. So, almost there. As a recap, we talked about the what and the why of EQ, we’ve talked about strategy and tactics, asking questions, and listening and building relationships. Now, the last thing I want to cover is putting your EQ to work. What does that look like? Harvard Business Review published a six question analysis for your own EQ. So I would recommend that you revisit these questions, write down your own answers about yourself. And then at the end, take them back to your colleagues, your partners, your friends, your family, and ask them what they think of your emotional intelligence. So question one, do you understand recognise and express emotions, to to tap into your self awareness and vulnerabilities? Three, can you manage these emotions? Four, can you learn to alter your behaviour to make the most of any given situation? Five, are you empathetic? And six? Do you practice being an approachable leader and someone who is not feared? Like I said, write down those questions, write down your answers to them, and then ask your family and friends to answer them for you. It may paints a pretty clear picture of how you feel about yourself and how others feel about the way that you communicate. And I would also encourage you to write down where you want to be a year from today. The cool thing about emotional intelligence is it’s something that you can practice, use emotional intelligence to build those quality relationships using quality conversation. And one thing that I love about it is that while IQ kind of stays the same after you turn 30 emotional intelligence continues growing throughout your life. And you can practice it anywhere, right? So if things are really tough at work right now, and you just don’t feel up for the challenge of practising it there. Practice it at home, ask curious intelligent questions, assume positive intent, do all of that stuff with your families and your friends, and then take it in the work or vice versa. To wrap things up, you have to be interested before you can be interesting. If you’re not asking why if you’re not making an effort to understand your stakeholders and your your subscribers, chances are you’re going to have a hard time building a relationship with them. But if you are genuinely interested in them, it’ll be pretty easy. As a reminder, look through your own inbox, find what works for you and try to understand why these are a few of the emails that I really look forward to getting and digging through these and figuring out what each they scratch for me and why I particularly like opening them and reading them paints a pretty clear picture of what works for me and what I might also want to think about for my subscribers. Like I said, the more you practice emotional intelligence anywhere, the easier it becomes everywhere. So get out there ask curious questions. be empathetic, assume positive intent, and don’t Send silly Star Wars subject line. Thank you all for joining. Really appreciate it. Cheers friends