Email Peeps 14: Dmitry Kudrenko from Stripo 🇺🇦
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how did you get to where you are today?
In one sentence, I am a programmer that became a serial IT entrepreneur, but people know me as a marketer.
I have been working in the email marketing industry for 15+ years, mostly creating products for email marketers:
- Yespo (ex eSputnik) — Omnichannel Customer Data Platform;
- Stripo — Email Design Platform;
- Claspo — Website Widgets Builder.
During these years, we took part in many exciting email journeys.
I love to create something that improves the world, which greatly motivates me and our team.
What is your favorite email hack?
I really like Elon Musk’s approach at SpaceX in creating the Falcon 9. Creating a rocket is a costly and lengthy process. And all of that is needed for just one launch. That’s why there are few launches, and something can go wrong every time. But if you invest in reusable modules, each subsequent launch is faster and cheaper. The same goes for email.
Before making a newsletter, I create a design concept, theme, and main content modules, such as a header, footer, blog post, product card, event announcement, main banner, welcome text, etc. I try to fill all the modules with as much real data as possible, test the results on all platforms, and then create the newsletters.
By investing time in the beginning, I get many benefits: speed of creation, quality, and integrity of the design, ease of adding colleagues to projects, scaling and controlling the email process, and cheaply changing already created newsletters by updating only the design of modules.
This is such a strategic email hack, and like every email developer, I have small tricks. For example, I like to add a feedback form to the footer of each email, with AMP and without it. It is a great way to get constant feedback before someone clicks the unsubscribe link. The main thing is to keep an eye on this feedback :).
What is your advice for new marketers looking to get into email design?
Don’t overestimate design — focus on the customer and the main message, and then just follow the following principles:
- Keep it simple: Don’t overload your emails with too much information or design elements. Keep your design simple and focused on your main message.
- Follow email design best practices: There are certain design elements and practices that work well in email. For example, using alt text for images, having a clear call-to-action, and ensuring your email is accessible to everyone.
- Use responsive design: Ensure your email design is responsive, meaning it can adjust to different screen sizes and devices. It is crucial as more people are reading emails on their mobile devices. Test your email design on various email clients and devices to ensure it looks great and functions as expected.
And remember that good is better than perfect.
What’s in your Email Toolbox?
I have a lot of trips. For example, right now, I’m in Chicago. Yesterday I was in Vegas, and in a week, I will be in Rio, so I take only the most necessary things with me.
I have 2 sets of hardware — Basic and Extended. The Basic one is always with me, even when I visit the local restaurant. I use the Extended set from my home office place.
The Basic Set:
- MacBook Pro, 2021;
- iPad Pro, 2019;
- Apple Pencil 2.
The most important is iPad. I do a lot of diagrams and handwriting notes, and I think it is the most helpful hardware I ever had.
The Extended Set:
When I return home, in my home office, I have:
- Table Barsky StandUp Memory Wooden Electric 1200×600;
- Monitor Samsung, 28;
- Magic Keyboard;
- Magic Touchbar;
- Web Camera Logitech 4K Pro;
- Acoustic system Samsung MX-T50;
- GVM Great Video Maker for light.
But most of the time, I use the Basic Set, even when I work from home.
- Slack for team communication;
- Notability (Notes for iPad), sometimes, I use FreeForms for the team drawing;
- Google Drive Apps (Doc, Sheet, Slides, Calendar) + Atlassian Confluence for internal docs;
- Tableau and Google Data Studio for reports;
- Figma for UI design review;
- XPlanner / KanbanFlow for project management;
- Yespo for sending emails (Stripo embedded to Yespo);
- Kindle for reading books;
What are your favorite email marketing resources?
#emailgeeks slack channel, Litmus, Email Monday, Really Good Emails, Holistic Email Marketing, and many others. I always check Email Marketing Rules “The Last Word” by Chad White in case I forget something important. I have to mention LinkedIn, as it constantly recommends a lot of great resources from my network.
What’s your favorite email campaign of all time? Why?
It is a super tricky question because, in my opinion, there cannot be a “campaign of all time.” Every campaign either works or not. It’s cool when you understand why it worked and can repeat it. So I will give an example of those emails that worked and didn’t work for me.
In short, this is a story about two onboarding email sequences I got as a customer.
When we were only working on our ESP, we used a third-party tool for sending newsletters. When the number of emails reached 200,000+, we realized we needed our own servers. Our admin picked a few tools for consideration; PowerMTA Port25 was among them. They offered a 1-month trial. A few days later, we received an email in which they indicated the state of integration we should currently be in and offered their assistance. It turned out that we were integrating incorrectly, and with their help, we resolved the issue.
There were other emails as well. So a month later, when we received a notification email saying our trial was ending and asking if we were ready to make a decision, we realized we were ready to make that purchase. And now imagine they would send us just this “Your trial ends soon. Are you ready to make a purchase?” email without all previous emails? Of course, we would not be.
At about the same time as in the previous case, I registered with a hosting company to host our site. The moment I registered, something distracted me, and later I decided to use another provider. And I never logged in to the first site. However, I received a welcome email, an email with credentials, and a week later, an email saying that my trial would end soon and they would remove all my data if I did not pay. And they should have emailed me about it and offered their help in the following email after sending the credentials instead of “threatening” me with my data removal.
Both companies emailed me that my trial would expire and that it was time to decide. However, the first company acquired a new client, and the second did not. The main reason here is the right message and the right time.
The key takeaway is that email content and timing are more important than design, but a consistent brand design can help users recognize and understand the email content more easily.
What can email marketers do to make the biggest impact on their company?
There are two kinds of email marketers:
- Those who send emails to promote products. They mostly care about short-term goals and are isolated from the whole business. Email is seen as a sales channel, with the main KPIs being Open/Click Rates and Revenue from the campaign. Here, the biggest impact comes from testing what works best, optimizing all processes, automating everything possible, and monitoring performance.
- Those responsible for customer communications. Email is part of the company’s DNA, and they have the power to shape the business based on customer feedback. They are more focused on optimizing the customer journey, with email being a channel for learning. Email marketing aims to test marketing or business hypotheses, with the main KPIs being customer lifetime and lifetime value independent of email. Here, the most significant impact comes from doing the “build-measure-learn” loop every two weeks and improving the business through communication.
I think that real marketing lives in the second type.
How do you manage work-life balance?
Hm… Trying to answer this question, I feel that it is tough nowadays. My family and I live in Ukraine, Dnipro (500 km south of Kyiv down the river). Life in my country has no weekends, days, and nights. Everything is messed up. It is not like a normal life where we manage our work-life balance. We are trying to manage mental balance first :).
We continue to work, trying to work hard and support our people at war, our colleagues, our families, and our economy. We have to balance so many things right now. I am proud of our team and our families. We didn’t stop to work even for one minute, even from the basement under air attacks. We just do what we can to return to everyday life, win the war, and maintain our work-life balance again.
How can #Emailpeeps support you and our friends in Ukraine?
I appreciate your support for Ukraine during these challenging times. Your contribution means a lot to us. I encourage you to continue supporting the Ukrainian people and motivate your government to help Ukraine. Donate if possible. If you can add any supportive message for Ukraine positions to your emails, it will help. You can also support our economy by using Ukrainian products in your daily life. Thank you once again, and please do not stop as we strive to put an end to this unfair and terrible war.