Your Email Marketing Strategy in Review
by: Karen Scharf, Small Business Marketing
Can you believe it’s November already? I’m not really sure how that happened, but it happened nonetheless.
And while I’m always sad to see the Summer go, I love this time of year because it’s a great time to start preparing your 2010 marketing plan. But before you do that, you’ll need to evaluate which of your 2009 marketing strategies worked and which were not effective. Since email marketing is one of the best marketing strategies for increasing your online presence, you should be constantly evaluating it and making any and all improvements.
As a guide, I am sharing with you how I personally assess the effectiveness of our email marketing strategy. You can use this as a reference to evaluate your own email marketing campaigns for the last quarter of the year. It is an easy to follow guide that will help you improve the effectiveness of your email marketing within your 2010 marketing plan.
The first thing you must do is identify the overall goal of the email marketing campaign you launched. What did it specifically focus on? What was your overriding objective? Branding? Relationship building? Direct Sales? Did you have secondary goals? Were you able to reach the statistics that you targeted? By pinpointing the overall goal, you will know which metrics to focus on in measuring the effectiveness of your email marketing.
If you decide that you weren’t too successful in reaching your goal, evaluate the different aspects of your email marketing campaign and identify the areas where you had difficulties. Review the metrics of your email marketing campaign. Dig deep to determine the reason behind your results, whether they were positive or negative.
List all the techniques you used to increase your subscriber list. Assess each of them to find out which was the most and least effective. Decide if the most time consuming technique is still worth your time and effort to implement. From the list, scratch out those ineffective list-growth programs you have used. No sense in adding ineffective techniques to your 2010 marketing plan.
Evaluate your current subscriber list and see how you can make it more personalized and how you can tweak your content to make it more relevant. Do you need additional information on your readers? Will you to implement a reader survey, or can you scrape together insights by simply looking at your email statistics and web analytics? How can you divide your mailing list to take advantage of this new information? Segmentation, personalization and relevance will be the keys to successful and effective email campaigns for next year.
Assess the content of the email messages you have sent out up to this point and see if they have been consistently relevant to your readers’ needs. Analyze the email content that you have been sending out on an individual basis. Appraise the schedule you have for sending out useful content-driven messages. Were you consistent in following your schedule accurately? Are you going to follow the same schedule or modify it? A consistent sending schedule has a great impact on your email delivery rates and open rates. If you’ve been unhappy with your delivery and/or open rates for 2009, be diligent with your sending schedule in 2010.
Compare all of your individual email marketing campaigns against each other. Pay attention to which of them turned in the best and the worst results. Know the reason behind each result and learn from it. Isolate each component of your email message – the subject line, the headline, the calls to action, the html, the images, the personalization, the relevance, the segmentation, etc. Determine which elements need to be modified to improve your results in 2010.
Check on your delivery rates for the past email marketing campaigns. How do your open rates compare with the standards for your industry? Identify the areas that could have caused any delivery problems. Was it technical issues? Spam Rejections? Develop a plan to improve your delivery rates for your future email marketing campaigns.
And finally, ensure that you have been compliant with the CAN-Spam guidelines throughout your entire email marketing campaign. Verify that your SPF record is up to date and that your domain name keys are set correctly. (If you need a little refresher on CAN-Spam compliance, grab a copy of my Free CAN-Spam checklist right here: http://www.modernimage.com/freereports/canspam.htm )
After evaluating your 2009 email marketing program, you should have all the information you need to create and execute an effective email marketing strategy for 2010. And if you’re disappointed after reviewing your 2009 statistics, don’t think of it as a failure; think of it as an awesome learning opportunity that provides an incredible chance to improve.