It’s been on my radar for a while but today I am finally publishing my 100th Sign-Up.to blog post. I joined Sign-Up.to back in August 2009 as a member of the Support team and since then I’ve seen many changes – both internally and in the email marketing, social media and the wider technology world. So join me on my trip down memory lane to see just how much things have changed.
The mobile explosion
When I started at Sign-Up.to I had a little Samsung phone, with limited internet excess but some ‘great’ music features – and I loved it. Today I have an iPhone 4 and couldn’t be without it. The growth of smartphones and the tablet market has been incredible and phones have become so much more than a way of speaking to or texting someone. My phone is my camera, calendar, music player, the place I check emails, a platform for playing games, how I check my bank balance, check all my social media channels, an alarm clock, how I check the weather, which actor was in that film I watched last night, how I place bids on eBay etc. Phew, that list is long! Making calls and sending text messages don’t sit at that top of the list and that really demonstrates the shift in how I use my ‘mobile phone’. The Internet is readily available and it’s given me different, and multiple, means of getting in touch with people. If I do want to send a text I have iMessage and What’s app, so our SMS behaviour has changed too. Smartphones are far from exclusive to young people too, they’re a mass market product. Heck, my parents even have one.
I remember when the iPad launched in 2010 and how a lot of people questioned their purpose. Despite that feeling, tablets have become a huge part of how people go about their daily lives – from internet browsing to reading books, tablets do it all. They’re hugely popular, with worldwide sales of tablets forecast to total 118.9 million units this year, up from 60 million last year (according to the Telegraph). Sadly I don’t own one but I can’t pretend that I haven’t been tempted on several occasions to splash out. E-readers, such as the Kindle, are hugely popular too but I can’t help but ask what’s wrong with a good old fashioned book?
A social world
Social media has boomed since 2009. Back then I actively used Facebook and Twitter but I certainly didn’t depend on them like I do today. Both platforms have become a big part of how I talk to my friends and family – especially for friends who live far away or are travelling. I use Twitter to see the latest news; in fact it’s become my primary news feed and whenever someone asks me what the point of Twitter is one of the major selling points for me is that it lets me easily keep up to date with news.
Let’s not forget that social media continues to evolve and the market isn’t made up of those two players anymore; we have Google+, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Pinterest etc. Some are more relevant to me than others, and Pinterest and Tumblr have become favourites of mine. They’re both great for ‘dumping’ images and ideas I see on other websites and just this week my friends and I began using Pinterest to plan a weekend getaway. My friends and I are quite into crafting, a hobby that is going through a bit of a renaissance at the moment, and websites such as Pinterest and Tumblr along with the likes Ravelry and Etsy have opened up ways of meeting new people and seeking inspiration! Let’s not forget Instagram, a hugely popular mobile app for photo sharing with a vast array of impressive photo filters.
Getting smarter with emails
With all the changes that have come to mobile and social media it comes as no surprise to look back and see how much email, and email marketing, has changed. I used to be a big Hotmail fan, setting my email address up about 11 years ago when I first ‘joined’ the world wide web. However, I’ve had exposure to so many email clients working for Sign-Up.to that I’ve now opened up a new email account using Gmail (though perhaps I’m just a bit late to this party!). It’s taken a long time to transfer those important subscriptions over but it was a really valuable exercise for me – especially as I’m now really cautious and conscious of where all the emails I receive come from. Plus Gmail ties in nicely with Google Docs and Reader, both of which I use on a daily basis. Sending emails to my friends has certainly declined, but I now use email to find out about the latest news, products and offers from companies I’m interested in hearing from.
Email platforms are hot on the heels of spam emails and we’ve seen the likes of Hotmail and Gmail introduce tools to keep their users’ inboxes clean. As well as this spam levels are now at an all-time low, so for email marketers it’s crucial that they’re smart about the emails they’re sending and who they’re sending them to. For marketers, email activity can’t be looked at independently from other channels – and that’s what I think has changed the most since 2009. In my job I work with clients to develop their online marketing strategy and really believe the best results come from integrating their email, social, online and mobile activity and promotions. As well as this, having an email render correctly in all platforms (including mobile) is more crucial and arguably more difficult than ever before.
What about Sign-Up.to?
From new faces to system developments, a lot has happened. The team has grown considerably; when I started we were a team of 13 and now there’s 24 of us. Plus, my old manager Brenden has now opened up an office back in his home town, Brisbane, Australia! It’s a great place to work and I’ve made some fantastic friends in my time here. My role has developed too; I started as a Support Assistant and since then have become an Account Manager. I look after lots of interesting accounts and, from restaurants to retailers, I’ve certainly learnt a lot. I also get to explore social media channels and write a lot of Sign-Up.to’s documentation, so it’s safe to say that my role is varied and busy.
What about the Sign-Up.to platform? The biggest two developments were our Share and Create sections and months of hard work went into developing those sections. Share allowed us to respond to the changing world of social media, making it easy for a business to manage their Facebook and Twitter page all in one place. The Create project developed a brand spanking new email creation tool that still impresses me a year and a half after launching. We’re always looking to improve our offering and I’m quite excited about where we might go next.
That’s it, the last two and a half years in a nutshell. Here’s to the next 100 posts!