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The Digital Marketing Forum 2011 is finally here! After months and months of planning, we finally kicked off the three-day event this morning with two pre-conference workshops on content marketing and social media measurement.

While the weather is just a wee bit colder than we anticipated when we came up with the tagline of the event---Turn Up the Heat---the Sheraton Austin is sizzling with some of the smartest marketers around, including one of my favorite speakers on the agenda, DJ Waldow, director of Community at Blue Sky Factory. Lucky for me, I had the opportunity to catch up with him and pick his brain on email marketing mistakes, marketing metrics, and what he'd be doing if he wasn't a marketer. Here's what he had to say.

1. What is your favorite part of your job?

I feel strongly that life and business is all about connections. My role as the director of Community at Blue Sky Factory allows me to connect with people every single day. I also love writing---articles, blog posts, etc., speaking at events, and working with/learning from other smart people.

2. What are some of the most common email marketing sins marketers commit?

Funny you should ask. Here's 14 of them. That being said, I think one of the biggest mistakes is not understanding your subscribers. Are you just blasting content to them that may or may not be valuable? Have you asked what they'd like to hear about from you via email? The key to email marketing is to send timely, targeted, valuable content to people who have asked for it.

3. What would say is the most important metric for marketers to measure in 2011?

Conversions. Website pageviews, social media mentions, email open and/or click-through rates, etc. are all great but if they don't result in more leads, more sales, more business, you are not really growing your business. In 2011, focus on the stuff that moves the needle, the stuff that matters.

4. Do you blog? Why? What does it do for your business?

I blog both personally Social Butterfly Guy and professionally Blue Sky Factory blog. On a personal level, it forces me to become a better writer, allows me to my chronicle my thoughts, and keeps a living historical record of my life. On a professional level, blogging drives leads (see question about "most important metric"), establishes credibility in the email marketing industry, and creates an archive of email marketing articles for easy future reference.

5. If you weren't a marketer, what job would you do?

Wow. Where to begin? I'd love to be on TV or radio in some capacity. I've had a few "15 seconds of fame" moments and loved them. Also, as a huge fan of both the New York (football) Giants and the Michigan Wolverines (my alma mater), I could see myself working for either of them.

* Bonus question! Do you like your chili mild or spicy?

Spicy for sure. I grew up in Upstate New York, home of Buffalo wings. I've been eating spicy food since I was born!

If you'd like to catch DJ's session on 7 Email Marketing Mistakes I Made & How to Avoid Them, and also get over 26 hours of digital marketing advice from the industry's brightest minds, join us for Digital Marketing Forum Online, your front row seat at our popular in-person event in Austin, Texas. Watch the sessions live or on-demand at any time.

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image of Megan Leap
Megan Leap is Online Marketing Manager at MarketingProfs, where she develops innovative, high-ROI social media campaigns. Previously, she was Online Marketing Manager at ion interactive, a leading provider of landing page software, where she spearheaded their social media strategy from the ground up. She's also consulted with leading brands on social media strategy and campaign management. Follow her on Twitter @MeganLeap.