Planning an Email Marketing Campaign –
4 Essential Steps
The death of email marketing has been a hot topic over the past few years, but recent reports have shown it’s simply not the case. Email marketing isn’t just sticking around – it’s on the rise.
In fact, a recent research found that 51% of marketers rate email marketing as their most effective channel, followed closely by SEO (45%) and Adwords (34%). This isn’t surprising when you consider how much cheaper, more measurable and better targeted email can be than any other marketing tactic.
But of course, email marketing is only as successful as the planning you’ve put behind the campaign. Just because you are sending out emails doesn’t necessarily mean that you are making the most of the growth opportunities.
Some thought and strategic thinking are required in order for you to design and carry out a campaign while ensuring a successful return on your investment. Here are the 4 most important things to consider when planning an email marketing campaign.
The first step to any successful marketing campaign, be it social media marketing, direct marketing and in particular email marketing, is to know who you are targeting. Who is the intended receiver of your message?
To make your email content relevant, you need to identify your target audience and understand their needs and preferences. This will allow you to design an email creative that will engage them and encourage them to respond or take an action.
You may identify more than one group (segments) you want to target with your email content and they may have different requirements. It is essential that you don’t try to communicate with everyone using the one email.
Instead you should create different content and maybe even different campaigns for your different groups. Imagine for example that you are a gym owner who would like to send out a promotional email campaign. You have 3 distinct target groups – people who come to your gym regularly for intensive training, people who come and spend their sessions with a personal trainer and a third group that consists of seniors who come in once a week for some gentle exercises. Even though they are all your customers, these 3 groups have distinct needs and you cannot possibly target them effectively with the same message.
Instead you should think about what kind of message would be relevant to each group and create your email around what they would like to know about rather than what you would like to tell them about.
Segment your customer list and if possible develop specific offers for each target audience. The better your targeting the more likely your campaign will be a success – 80% of an emails success is down to delivering the right content to the right target list at the right time..
What do you want to achieve? Identify what the main aim of your email campaign is. Do you want to raise awareness of your products and services, generate leads and sales or improve customer retention?
You simply cannot proceed to the next step (content creation) if you haven’t outlined the scope and objective of your campaign.
No doubt, the number-one objective of your e-mail marketing strategy is to make money — probably the number-one objective of your business. But this is too-broad of an idea and in order for you to create a successful email campaign, you will need to get more specific.
Here are a few possible objectives and the action the readers will have to take in order for your campaign to live up to its objective:
- Drive more traffic to your store. – People will have to use their mobile devices to show the offers or coupons in your e-mails to the salespeople in your store.
- Bring visitors to your website. – People will have to click on links in your email to visit your website, estore, or social media site.
- Increase event attendance. – People will have to click on a link to register for an event online through a registration form.
Once you have identified the objective of your email campaign and who you are targeting, you can proceed to the next step.
It’s tempting to approach your campaign from the perspective of what you want to tell your customers, but you’re more likely to engage with them by asking yourself, “What do my customers want/need to read about?”
I have said this before, but here it is one more time: “An email campaign is only as good as its content”. What is the point of working hard to grow your email list if you’re just going to send people emails that suck.
By definition, if you have planned well, consider your audience and the objective of the campaign, coming up with the actual content should be a piece of cake. But in case you need some help finding your writing muse, check out this post – 5 Great Ideas to Spice up Your Email Content.
I can confidently say that anyone not tracking their email marketing campaigns’ performance is missing a big opportunity for improvement.
Depending on the industry you’re in, measuring success down to the dollar value per email can be of utmost significance. Keeping track of your email performance is a great way to show executives and decision makers the value of your email marketing efforts and validates your work. But even more importantly, tracking your campaigns’ performance is a great way to look for areas that require improvement or spot areas where you are performing particularly well so you can then replicate the process for other campaigns.
Here are some of the most important metrics you should be looking at when judging the performance of your email campaigns:
- Bounces refers to the number of email addresses in your subscriber list that didn’t receive your message because it was returned by a recipient mail server. Bounces aren’t good for your email list, because of the negative impact on deliverability and the success of your email campaigns. Monitor your bounces closely. If some addresses continually bounce, it may be time to take the next steps – move them to the Inactive List.
- Open rate looks at how many of the total number of emails you have sent, have been opened by the recipient. This metric is a great indicator of how well your subject line is working and can offer insight into how your brand is perceived by your customers; however, the open rate does not tell the whole story – just because a lot of people opened an email does not make it successful. They could have opened the email without taking the appropriate action – clicking on a link, for example.
- Clicks relates to the number of people who have clicked a link in the email content. The higher the number of recipients clicking through, the more relevant and meaningful your content is. Ultimately, if your clicks are high, that means that the campaign is successful.
To build, execute, and maintain effective email marketing campaigns, you must pay close attention to your audience, the message, the objective and avoid the common trap of simply blasting out self-promotional messages to your entire email list.
Hopefully this guide will help you become and email pro and put you on the right path to email marketing success.