Matthew Montoya is a 20-year email veteran whose work has impacted and touched on nearly every aspect of the marketing vehicle around print, broadcast, social media, web, and email marketing.
As the Channel Marketing and Enablement Manager for Constant Contact, Montoya has crisscrossed through 46 states on behalf of the company to help some 14,000 small businesses and nonprofits to better understand how digital marketing can affect growth and what utilizing best practices can mean to the bottom line of their business.
Montoya will join forces with MailCon for an upcoming webinar on March 10 at 11 a.m. PDT to tackle the complexities behind “Overcoming Brand Consistency Challenges in Email Marketing.”
In his webinar, Montoya will take his audience behind the scenes of consistent brand messaging and marketing strategies that will help distinguish a brand’s presence in the inbox.
Montoya joined MailCon in advance to discuss further.
Register in advance and tune in for Montoya’s insights and vision on how you can improve your brand messaging and remain consistent across your email campaigns.
Tell us a little about your background and how you started in email marketing.
I started my marketing journey in alternative newspaper advertising, and thanks to the recession, I found myself working a few years later at a non-profit association. Amongst my duties was to procure an email marketing solution — I chose Constant Contact. After some years, I worked with Constant Contact on a sponsorship opportunity and got to know the company. I loved the customer-first mission and soon joined Constant Contact as a field trainer and public speaker. In my 10-plus years at the company, I’ve been fortunate to meet and train 14,000-plus small businesses and larger organizations around the world and share best practices on email marketing.
What is the driving force behind your marketing innovation?
Constant Contact sits in a unique space. We strive to give people and organizations the tools they need to be successful in a way that anyone can understand — and, most importantly, utilize. We’re well poised to help from inception and as they scale, providing just the right tools as they grow. Additionally, we are constantly innovating with a focus on multi-unit organizations. We find that having a tool that allows ease of use for downline and child accounts while giving a parent-level user the ability to control brand and message is a key driver for their success.
You’re an experienced and well-known mentor and speaker in the industry. What’s the advice you would give to someone who is just starting?
It may seem obvious, but I’ve seen so many new folks jump right into marketing programs and projects without thinking through the goal. Just getting the message out is often a typical and primary goal for someone new to email and social media marketing. Without thinking through the critical importance of segmentation, automation, and personalization — and how it’s tied to an ultimate goal of the said program — they’re often behind the curve after only a few sends and posts. As I always say to new folks, how can you know you met a goal if you never set one in the first place? The critical piece new folks overlook is that it’s all about the metrics.
What do you tell those who say email marketing is dying?
When I first started in the email marketing world over 10 years ago, that same question was on everyone’s lips. Here we are still having this discussion. The answer is clear: no, it’s not dying. Businesses of all sizes need to keep in mind two things. One, thanks to smartphones, one of the most utilized apps is the inbox. People are always in their emails. We don’t think of it as an app because it’s such a ubiquitous utility. Yet still, despite all the ways to communicate, people utilize email to connect. The other key thing to remember is the business owns those contacts.
Unlike some other forms of marketing, that data is yours. The fact that those contacts should have been gained with permission means those contacts wanted just that — to be contacted. The commitment of someone giving their contact information, and especially taking time out to open and click on links in that email, is so powerful. Nothing else can show intent in such a clear and dramatic way as having an email subscriber follow up on a call to action.
What sets email and SMS outreach apart from other forms of outbound marketing?
It’s how complementary they are in the lead or customer journey. SMS is so powerful because of its immediacy, but it can be difficult to build relationships solely via SMS. That’s where email marketing shines. By sharing relevant and valued content via email — and in conjunction with SMS — a business can build relationships and motivate someone to take a clear call to action.
Vice versa, the ability for someone to subscribe to email marketing via SMS and then tying that to automation creates an immediate connection to a subscriber. SMS and email marketing are truly better together, especially versus some other forms of marketing. Both shine in how the contact was gained, and it’s much more than a transactional experience compared to other marketing.
What’s one thing that drives instant engagement with clients?
That’s a ‘slippery slope’ question. Each subscriber, each market, each company’s value prop is different. There cannot and should not be a one size fits all answer. That said, the two things that work very well for instant engagement are 1) some level of FOMO (fear of missing out) and 2) discounts. These can come in a wide variety of concepts, like event FOMO, discounts on services tied to a limited time, abandoned cart email/SMS.
The tricky thing for those new to email marketing is that these concepts can backfire when overused. Not all subscribers are ready to take action the second they get the message, and there may be a long sales cycle for those subscribers. If overused, the marketing can become perceived as irrelevant, and we lose the relationship-building power of email marketing. It’s always a balance of driving as instant engagement as possible.
What has been the biggest challenge in email over the last year since the COVID-19 outbreak? How has Constant Contact handled these challenges?
Firstly, a dramatic increase in businesses scrambling to move to online marketing and sales. We were well-positioned to help them migrate from physical to digital. Given we have a very accessible product, fantastic (and free) support throughout the entire journey, and amazing training in both product and best practices, we were able to help these businesses migrate in that very time of need.
The other was a drastic increase in mid/larger organizations across all industries coming to us. There was a need for centralized control and brand/message consistency while empowering downline end-users flexibility and ease of use. These organizations needed to provide more online solutions to customers, clients, and prospects but also needed to protect branding. We were and continue to be in a very good space to do both.
How have customer engagement and behavior trends changed during the COVID-19 pandemic? What are the newly emerging trends? Are these trends here to stay?
We saw increases in click-through rates during 2020. More people had more time to focus on email, more email was sent, and more action was taken. This goes back into that question about the health of email marketing. At a time when there was little personal interaction, email, and our other digital marketing solutions, came to save the day. We are continuing to see many prospects and customers of Constant Contact look for both email and SMS, and that’s a combination that we should see much more focus on in 2022 from Constant Contact.
What is one new development that has reshaped email marketing in 2021?
Without a doubt, the Apple Privacy Protection changes. It’s odd because, in reality, it really shouldn’t have ‘reshaped’ it. The open rate has always been somewhat a vanity metric, and we’ve always taught our customers to primarily focus on clicks. It’s likely well known by those reading this that the click is the key metric to judge engagement via email marketing — it’s critical in understanding what content was perceived as valuable and who found it valuable.
This helps to gauge the success of a campaign, helps with next step planning, and is key in setting up automated content delivery. That said, any change so universal to anyone providing or creating email marketing was sure to cause concern. I look at it as a valuable change in the industry. While professional marketers know everything I just said, the novice or inexperienced end-user likely does not. Anything that can help them understand the true value of email marketing moves them further to success.
What new email marketing trend will become a big thing for the industry in 2022?
I think we’ll see even more ways to track engagement in emails that — for a variety of reasons — don’t offer a clear call to action. I think we’ll continue to see the marriage of SMS and email marketing. We’ll also likely see the continued adoption of e-commerce automation.
What other industry insights would you like to share with the MailCon audience?
I’m mostly thankful to have this chance to share how I’ve seen Constant Contact evolve over the last decade. We have learned that when it comes to organizations that need multiple email accounts, allowing the end-user some flexibility at the local level while maintaining standards at the top is more critical than ever. We partner with organizations of all sizes — small business owners and freelancers, mid-to-large organizations, franchises, and more — and provide solutions to simplify online marketing. Additionally, with our newest offering, SharpSpring, we can allow marketing agencies at scale to fully optimize a funnel for their clients.
Join us on Tuesday, March 10 at 11 a.m. PDT to tune in for Montoya’s insights and vision on how you can improve your brand messaging and remain consistent across your email campaigns.