Marketers are continuing to invest in email and have the expectation that the channel will deliver higher response rates. While there is an almost instant response to promotions, research indicates that the majority of companies using email are not utilizing best practices and don’t achieve the highest response rates.
Two of the most common barriers to increasing email effectiveness are 1.) a technology platform that makes advanced programs complicated to build and deploy and 2.) marketers who simply don’t have the time and resources required to implement email effectively. In order to simplify the process and help you build a strategic email marketing plan, follow these five steps:
- Identify your challenges.
Some marketers are unsure where their subscribers are within the customer lifecycle, or don’t know what content to use to interest new prospects. Whatever the issue is, start by writing down a list of what you want to work on over the next six to twelve months. You’ll be able to see your goals and create short, actionable steps to achieve your desired goals.
- Fix what’s broken.
To tackle your email to-do list effectively, you need to repair any holes or issues first. It’s easy to get complacent and accept “broken” items or processes, but these elements have a way of tripping you up and keeping you from running an effective email program. Try cleaning your house list, reviewing your welcome and customer lifecycle statements, and making sure that the program is running the way it should be. Also, a fresh pair of eyes for some feedback is very helpful and enlightening to see it from someone else’s point of view.
- Look for ways to expand your reach.
Many marketers are scared to try something “out-of-the-box.” If your database is small, try a test messaging or social media acquisition program. If you have a large number of inactive subscribers, consider rolling out a win-back email program. And, if these aren’t programs offered by your email platform, consult your email service provider’s strategy team to learn how to implement them.
- Prioritize your objectives.
The number of programs an email marketer can implement is daunting, but it doesn’t have to be a complicated process. Assign the programs you want to deploy to the appropriate stages of the customer engagement lifecycle—acquisition, subscribers, purchasers, loyalists, and influencers—then start at the top and work your way down strategizing what is a good fit for each stage.
- Test, execute, and measure.
A great rule of thumb is run a preliminary A/B test to determine which messages resonate most with your subscribers, then evaluate the final results of the campaign to determine what changes are needed to implement before the next deployment. The only sure fire way to know what works is to test it and sometimes test it again.