Tips And Tricks To Win Your Email Marketing Game

Email marketing is one of the well-known tactics that can yield high returns, but it does take a little work to make it sing and distinguish it from competitors. With our tips and tricks, you can turn your newsletter into an anticipated high-conversion email for your audience!


Craft a strategy

It’s all well and good to send emails when you have something to say, but without a plan to tie all these newsletters together, your communication will look a little disjointed and inconsistent. The right strategy will complement your other sales and marketing activities, elevate the perception of your brand and deepen the relationship with your audience.

To create your email marketing strategy, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do I want to achieve with this tactic?
  • How do I want to be perceived?
  • What main message(s) do I want to convey?
  • What impact do I want my emails to have?
  • What is my audience looking for?
  • What does my audience need?

Out of the answers to the above, create three main themes that you will follow in your email communications.


Segment your email list

This will come as no surprise: the most well-received and sales-effective content is tailored to its intended audience. The more personalised the message, the more your audience will find it valuable and take the time to read it and convert.

The key to good personalisation in email marketing is cutting your overall email list into smaller groups with one common feature. Here are some ways to help you segment your mailing list, but remember to pick your segmenting factor based on what makes the most sense for your brand.

  • Age group
  • Status (i.e. prospective customer, current customer, former customer)
  • Purchase volume
  • Time since last purchase
  • Interest
  • Industry


A/B test

A/B testing, also called split testing, consists of sending out two versions of the same message to your audience. Half of your audience segment will receive one version and the other half will get the other version of your email.

This technique allows you to experiment with copy, design, tone of voice and more to figure out what is more effective on your audience and each of your segments. It’s an easy but powerful tool to refine your communications by learning more about your audience.


Think experience

Copy and assets must complement each other and your message to create a distinctive experience that supports your brand. First impressions are key here. You need compelling headers and eye-catching visuals that will draw your readers into the core of your email where the copy can keep them there… and push them towards sales.


Make it mobile-friendly

46% of emails are opened on a mobile device. This means that roughly half of your potential readers will check – and hopefully open – your email on their phone, so make sure your newsletter is readable and appealing on a phone or iPad. 

Think of your fonts, their size and the type of visual assets you use, along with where you use them… Any email marketing platform worth its salt will have a feature for you to preview the email as opened on a phone or desktop.


Timing is key

You don’t want your email to pop up when your audience is unavailable or doesn’t have the time or inclination to read it. If this happens, they’ll either delete the email altogether or leave it for later to read.

Later, however, is also known as this mystical land where your gym membership, learning how to skydive and eating healthier live. In other words, there’s a good chance the email will sit unread in their inbox until it’s deleted. This isn’t the impact you want your snazzy email marketing to have.

Most people check their emails in the morning, on their commute or when they get to their desk, but don’t stop there. The best time for you to send your email will depend on a few things, namely:

  • If your target audience is leisure or business
  • The nature of your message (sales communication first thing in the morning is not terribly exciting)
  • Your industry’s key dates
  • Public holidays
  • Where audience members are at on their customer journey
  • Day of the week

It’s well worth your time to do a little research into your target audience’s habits and trial your top days and times before settling on one.


Go beyond promotions

We all love a good promotion, but email marketing is also a great way to nurture and deepen your relationship with your audience. You want them to get to know you, identify with you and consider you as more than just a supplier. You want the marketing dream of creating an emotional connection with your audience.

To do so, you need to go beyond products and promotions in your communication. Use your email marketing as an opportunity to share what your brand is truly about, its purpose and values, without forgetting all the good things you do beyond selling products.


Want an audit of your email marketing game? Give us a shout at [email protected]. We’d love to hear from you!

Raise Your Voice – The Social Model of Disability

Awright! I’m Gra, PFM’s Digital Designer, and a disabled creative. On the 9th of February, I gave a talk and chaired a discussion about the social model of disability as the first in a monthly series where PFM-ers talk about the things they care about.


The Medical Model and Social Model of Disability

A disability is “perceived impairments of an individual’s body, emotions, and mind”. Disabilities are defined as “conditions that affect a person’s physical or mental capacity or mobility”.

There are two main approaches to framing disability in society: the medical model centres the person as the problem, whereas the social model argues that barriers put up by society create a “disabling environment” which perpetuates difficulties that they may face. 

For example, while the medical model states that a person with dexterity or strength issues will struggle with opening heavy doors, the social model posits that this is evidence of the “disabling environment”, and that greater accessibility brought by automatic doors will allow that same person to thrive (relatively speaking).


A History Lesson! (in brief…sorta)

The social model came about as a result of a group of disability rights advocates inspired by the Civil Rights Movement. In the ‘60s and ‘70s, groups like the Union of the Physically Impaired Against Segregation (UPIAS) began to observe their own experiences with a new lens, questioning their relationship with society and its assumptions about their experience.


A “disabling environment”

The idea of a “disabling environment” can be tough to get your head around when you don’t experience it. It manifests in a couple ways…


Environmental Barriers

When you look at the built environment with the social model in mind, it’s much easier to see that (by-and-large) provisions are lacking. The world is built with the majority in mind and provisions are often seen as going above-and-beyond.

Imagine a museum, or just about any building built prior to the ‘80s. You’ve probably been in dozens of them, but we’ll go with a museum because museums are class. It’s much easier to see where provisions may be lacking. 

A physically disabled person approaches the Imaginary Museum and sees that it doesn’t have an accessible entrance: there are no ramps, no handrails, no lifts – nada. And so they’re left with no recourse but to miss the opportunity to see the treasures of antiquity or something.

A cognitively impaired person manages to get in the door, which is great! However, they notice that there isn’t adequate signage. There are no maps, the museum is loud, and they’re left with trouble trying to navigate the space.

A blind or partially sighted person gets in, but there’s no braille signage – and no audio description service available.

These are just a few examples considering the social model, and I’m sure you can think of many yourself. Next time you’re out and about, think about how the space may present a “disabling environment”.


Social Barriers and Attitudes

Social factors play a big part too. As they say, “hell is other people”. People’s attitudes towards the disabled are, for lack of a better word, shi- umm…guff. Apathy, ignorance and outright hostility run deep – it seems bananas, but it’s not hard to spot when you look.

Imagine someone who’s a prat, any prat. You’ve probably met dozens of them this week alone, and we can easily imagine where their mindset may suck. 

They’ve had relatively few interactions with the physically disabled and have a big empathy gap. When they hear about provisions being made at the Imaginary Museum from before, they complain. They say that building work makes the space less accessible to them (I know right – irony!) and that the addition of an accessible entrance ruins the facade of a building they’ve never previously cared about. It’s not even a real building! You’re imagining it right now!

They’ve had even less actual interaction with cognitively impaired people, but when they do, they talk about the person being “difficult” and wonder out loud “where is their carer?”.

They get into an online debate on Twitter – well known to be the best way to resolve society’s ills – with a Deaf or hard of hearing person, arguing that learning BSL in schools throttles budgets and wastes time that kids could spend learning some other thing – trigonometry maybe? Let’s say trigonometry, everyone hates trigonometry.


A “normal life”

Many disabled people will contend at some point in their lives with the idea that a normal life may be unobtainable to them. They’ll be resigned to making their peace with a limiting environment and limiting approaches. This has knock-on effects for us all.

Disabled people face a higher occurrence of depression, anxiety, and substance use disorder, among other “co-occuring disorders”.

If someone is physically disabled, they may come to accept their lack of ability to participate in activities that shouldn’t be impacted. There’s no reason that they can’t go to the Imaginary Museum and appreciate all the rusty bits of axes and the like. The same for a partially sighted person.

A person with a cognitive impairment may come to understand that without adequate provisions, they may never be able to have a career, while being castigated for their perceived “unwillingness/inability to contribute”.


What can we do?

I appreciate that this has all been a bit fraught – it’s frustrating. Everyone deserves the opportunity to thrive and live their life in the manner that they’d like to. But don’t worry! You’ve already done something important. 

Just by reading this far, you’ve done just a wee bit of self-education. You’re an advocate, I declare it. And I really appreciate you taking your time. Unless you skipped to this bit – then go back up and read the flippin’ thing, it’s only NINE HUNDRED WORDS? How did I write that much? It’s still not very much – get on it and meet me back down here where you’re officially declared a ✨superstar ✨. 



If, for some reason, you’d like to chat to me after having read that then shoot me an email at [email protected] – I’m always about to talk about inclusion and advocacy.

Why You Need Brand Guidelines

Recently, the team at Pilot Fish Media have been working collaboratively to pivot our brand and delve deeper into our why, mission and tone of voice. The importance of brand guidelines has become much more apparent to us, and in this blog, I’ll be sharing some of our thoughts with you.

A business’ brand is ultimately its most important asset. Not only does a brand reflect a company’s personality, but it also acts as a showpiece, which increases credibility and shows off your values. This is where the brand guidelines come in!


What are brand guidelines?

A set of brand guidelines generally consist of: 

  • The company logo and its variations
  • Colour palette, including hex codes 
  • Typefaces and their use
  • Tone of voice 
  • Imagery 
  • Icons/graphic elements 

The brand book essentially contains the ‘behind the scenes’ of the brand. Here, you’ll find finer details like recommended point sizes for type and the tone of voice for different social media platforms. You’ll also find rules set out that should be adhered to when anyone is creating content. Think of it as your brand’s ‘bible’.


What are the benefits to having brand guidelines? 

In a nutshell, brand guidelines help to:

  • Ensure all brand outputs are cohesive, consistent and recognisable to the public 
  • Allow your employees and clients to understand the nature of your brand 
  • Keep everyone on the same page 
  • Save time when preparing branded documents 
  • Set style standards to ensure your brand’s outputs are ✨glowing✨ 


On the flip side, what are the disadvantages to not having brand guidelines? 

Without a set of guidelines, your brand can be impacted in a number of ways, such as: 

  • Lack of brand consistency, meaning your brand is far less recognisable 
  • Lack of professionalism, which can potentially lead to less custom 
  • Difficulty keeping up engagement with followers/customers/clients 
  • Difficulty standing out against competitors 
  • Unclear brand vision, mission and values (which is often what will set you apart from competitors) 
  • No voice to support your brand 


Why use brand guidelines?

Your guidelines can be used both internally and externally to ensure consistency across all outputs. They help both the company’s employees and clients understand the nature of your brand and your creative do’s and don’ts. Often, the creative team behind the business will put together the brand guidelines, applying their design knowledge to ensure clear execution.

Brand guidelines are a valuable piece of work that will help everyone stay on track and ensure all outputs are cohesive. Without these guidelines, your brand’s message could mistakenly change at any point because a logo was used incorrectly or because an employee didn’t know to use the wordmark instead of a graphic element. 

So, if you or your business are yet to put together a set of brand guidelines, this is your reminder to get the process underway!



Want to chat more about your brand guidelines? Get in touch at [email protected] and I’ll be happy to help!

How To Fall Back In Love With Content Marketing

Creating stand-out content is crucial if you want to maximize your brand’s online presence and the power of your digital touchpoints in 2022. From providing value and encouraging positive brand sentiment to improving organic search visibility and domain authority, the potential benefits of creating great content are limitless.

However, we know that the prospect of creating high-value content can be intimidating, so we’ve created a quick run-down of some of 2022’s top content trends and our tips to help you (hopefully) fall back in love with content creation this year.


It’s (Still) All About Video 

It’s probably not news to anyone that video is set to continue to dominate across all social platforms in 2022. From Instagram Reels and TikToks, to Youtube Shorts, video should definitely be on your radar. In the last few years, and especially since TikTok’s boom in 2020, short-form video has proven to be the most engaging content you can produce for your brand. 

Reels on Instagram are highly favoured by Instagram’s ever-ambiguous algorithm, meaning they are much more likely to gain traction and reach than any feed posts and stories you create. If you want new eyes on your page, you really can’t ignore video. How to embrace it? Have a scroll on your TikTok FYP and Instagram Reels tab, and look out for trends and sounds that you can make relevant to your product or offering. Being timely and relatable is key with short-form video. 


Get Your Audience Involved 

We all know that engagement rate should always be your number one KPI when accessing content performance and an effective way to increase engagement with your brand is to add in interactive elements to your content. Your target audience will be more likely to be compelled by content that allows them to interact and have their voice heard. Think about it, we all consume so much content in a day, sometimes all the images and text blur into one. 

Some ways you can implement this include creating an engaging quiz on your site or utilising the interactivity features on Instagram stories to get your audience talking. 


LinkedIn Is Cool Now

LinkedIn is not boring anymore. Every quarter, the platform reports huge increases in monthly users and engagement on the platform. It’s time to stop overlooking LinkedIn as stuffy or only relevant to ‘the suits’.

If you’re a b2b or service-focused business, don’t underestimate the significance and potential power of your teams’ individual LinkedIn profiles. Your people should be your best ambassadors, and their presence on Linkedin can help communicate your company culture and also help build and nurture relationships with current and prospective clients. Because of the ‘human’ nature of the profile, LinkedIn is a great platform for value-driven storytelling, which will continue to be extremely valuable this year. 

If you need some inspiration, our Head of Agency, Paff, nails their Linkedin personal content. We’re probably biased but the reach and engagement on their posts speak for themselves! 


Leverage User-Generated Content 

User-generated content, whether organic or produced through collaboration (e.g. influencers), should be an integral part of your content strategy. Firstly, utilising UGC allows you to streamline and cut down on the resources involved in the content creation process. Secondly, and most importantly, UGC is very well received by audiences. It can boost your credibility and extend the potential reach of your organic content considerably.

So many brands and businesses have lots of untapped UGC waiting to be used… If you feel like you need some more fresh content, there are also lots of ways you can encourage UGC. For example, you could host a giveaway where followers have to post content to enter or start to share messaging encouraging customers to tag you in their content and use branded hashtags. 


Don’t Give Into the Overwhelm 

Our biggest piece of advice when planning your content creation strategy is to find where your target audience spends the most time and nail your strategy for this platform first. Do you get the best engagement on Instagram reels? Amazing, get filming. Is your email open rate way above industry average? Great, get typing.

As much as it’s important to be agile and reactive, spreading your brand too thin often means that you’re compromising on value and ultimately, content performance. Always start with your strongest platform and don’t be afraid to focus most of your energy there until it’s running like clockwork.


If you need a little extra help staying up to date with all things social, make sure you give us a follow on social or send us an email at [email protected]!

In Other News: MPs Call for Verification Of Social Media Accounts, WhatsApp Stresses Encryption, and The Royal Society Issues Report On COVID Disinformation

This week, we bring you more of the latest social media news to keep you on your toes and, most importantly, up-to-date with all things social! 


MPs demand social media companies block communications from unverified accounts

Following racist abuse faced by footballers following the 2020 Euros, a petition demanding compulsory photo ID verification accrued more than 500,000 signatures from concerned members of the public.

The bid to make such verification compulsory was rejected by the petitions committee, citing concerns that it could unduly target/curtail vulnerable groups freedom of expression (often called “the chilling effect”). However, they made the recommendation that users be given the option to voluntarily verify and to block all incoming communications from unverified users.

Social media companies would then have to demonstrate to Ofcom that they had taken “proportionate steps” to ensure adults were protected from “legal but harmful” abuse online. What exactly could be considered harmful and abusive, but somehow legal remains unclear at the moment.


WhatsApp launches advertising campaign centring encryption

Meta (way back when it was called Facebook) initially announced plans to integrate all of their messaging apps in 2019. A side-effect of this was that every app needed to conform to WhatsApps levels of encryption, which apparently takes about 3 years and one pandemic.

Government agencies and Law Enforcement groups across the globe have raised concerns that this might limit their capability to investigate people’s private conversations, but have assured that they only do so if they’re the baddies. However, the EU has countered that stronger encryption is likely to protect users from threats of blackmail and other kinds of cybercrime.

Conversely, in the years since WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook there has been growing concern over user’s data being shared. WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton stated in 2020 “I sold my users’ privacy to a larger benefit”. This new move suggests that social media companies certainly won’t share users’ private data – unless they really really want to, then they might.


The Royal Society issues report on viral virus content

Following a rash of COVID misinformation, The Royal Society (a name which feels like it should have more words in it*) have suggested that the problematic aspects of removing content that is “legal but harmful” may not outweigh the potential benefits. The Society stressed that science is a process of dispute and change, and that any perceived censorship is antithetical to the scientific method.

However, The Centre for Countering Digital Hate (that’s plenty of words…) countered this, pointing to a video titled “Plandemic” which went viral in 2020, spreading disinformation about vaccines & masks before eventually being taken down after it was deemed both harmful, and difficult to monetise. Its sequel (aptly titled “Plandemic 2”) was restricted much more heavily and failed to make the same mark, a bit like Mean Girls 2.


*they do science stuff by the way