Before you can effectively implement an email marketing campaign (or any marketing initiative, for that matter), you must create a strategy around it. Without a comprehensive, clear strategy, your campaign will never meet or exceed your goals and objectives. Unfortunately, many email marketers struggle with how to create strategies, focusing instead on logistics, tactics or design and development.
In a recent Smart Insights blog, Tim Watson from consultancy Zettasphere discusses strategic mistakes he often encounters email marketers making in his consulting. “Thinking through the mistakes or omissions that are often made in email programs is one way to define the best practices,” Watson says.
Here are a few common email marketing strategy mistakes:
Not Setting Long-Term Email-Specific Goals
Before beginning email marketing efforts, you need to know your campaign’s goals. (Ideally, you’ll also know how those goals are tied to overall business results.) Without goals, it’s impossible to successfully execute or measure your campaign because you won’t have a clear sense of what you want to achieve.
Specifically, email marketers should focus on long-term goals. “Measure long-term engagement using hurdle rates or open reach,” Watson says. “This measures customers, not campaigns, and considers the engagement across the whole of the database rather than just customers in a particular campaign.”
Not Investing in List Growth
Every email marketer has the goal of list growth, but many, says Watson, aren’t clear on the value of an email address. “This makes it really hard to invest in growing the list,” he says. An email append service is a quick, affordable and reliable way to grow an email list by matching opt-in email addresses to a postal list.
Not Explaining WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?)
“What’s in it for me?” is every consumer’s favorite question. When strategizing campaigns, email marketers must think like the reader or consumer, asking themselves why a person would want to sign up to receive emails in the first place. “If you aren’t clear what’s in it for the customer, then customers won’t be clear either.”
Do you want to help subscribers save time and money? Or perhaps you want to provide them with entertaining and educational content. Whatever your end goal, present it clearly and often.
Not Examining and Re-examining Preference Strategy
How often your audience prefers to hear from you is especially vital in email marketing where severing ties is as easy as clicking “unsubscribe.” Don’t assume you know best – always examine and re-examine what actions (or lack thereof) your customers are taking.
“There are three tips on capturing preferences: ask them, observe them and group them (into categories),” says Sundeep Kapur on ClickZ. “Use your preference page to ask the consumer about her other channel preferences, including informing her about your social media outlets.”
Not Synchronizing and Correcting Data
“Many businesses have multiple sources of consumer data. Make sure your data is updated and easily accessible to all channels,” says Kapur. Mailing to bad emails reduces inbox delivery and sender reputation. Email validation is a key tool for preventing bad addresses from getting on your list, improving deliverability and capturing accurate leads. After implementing email validation, some companies have reported more than 90 percent reduction in bounce rates and a 20 percent increase in open rates.
TowerData works with marketers, database analysts and IT professionals to improve their contact databases. By validating email addresses for better deliverability, providing email intelligence to improve personalization and adding email addresses, TowerData can help marketers extend their reach. Contact us to learn more.
photo credit: Leo Reynolds