Before you hit Send, create a plan

Some days, I have to chuckle at all the useless, uninteresting, and off-target fodder that ends up in my inbox, especially those emails that were clearly created simply to “shout out” a promotion. It’s so easy to hit the Delete button on these that it’s almost pathetic that the sender even took the time to write the email promotion. The bottom line – these emails are fear-driven. As the economy continues to tighten its stranglehold on businesses and consumers, I have begun to see more and more email campaigns, day after day, that are shouting about 60% off sales, free shipping (why companies don’t just offer this as standard now I’m not quite sure), and giveaways to entice us to keep the economy moving forward. I do hope these companies have a plan in place to measure the results from all of these email campaigns though. You know me, I love plans that measure results. Just like any other program in your marketing mix, you must create a plan for each email campaign that you send. Otherwise, how are you going to know if you should do it again, or if it was a waste of time? Here are a few things to consider when creating a successful email campaign:

– Take a look at your open, click-through, bounce, unsubscribe, and referral rates, and any transactions that occurred as a result of the email blast. What areas exceeded your expectations? What parts of the email fell flat? Use this knowledge to your power when creating your next campaign.
– Merge/purge your email database so you have the highest quality customers and leads receiving your emails. Bigger is not better. If you need to divide your lists to create different email blasts so that the information is better suited to the reader, then do it.
– How are you going to create your message? In HTML? Rich Text? Make sure to include links to refer a friend, change an email address, opt-in and/or opt-out, change preferences, and a link to a PDF of articles.
– Proofread, spell check, check all your links and send yourself a proof to make sure everything looks great. Credibility is key!

Once you hit “Send,” you’ll want to create follow-up mechanism just like you would with any marketing campaign. Don’t just send it and then let the campaign die. Above all, you’re simply wasting your time. After your campaign is over, sit back and digest where it was successful and what might need work for the next time. Herein lies your true measurement of your ROI.

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