Monday, January 26, 2009
When it comes to email marketing strategy, I'm a firm believer that "simpler is better." With non-stop advancements in subscriber segmentation, web analytics integration, and other sophisticated capabilities, today's best email programs are worlds away from the days of "bulk email marketing." However, as your email capabilities become more sophisticated, it is essential that you understand the basics of how each of your programs contributes to the performance of your business, and what subscribers find valuable about them. If these fundamentals aren't as clear as they should be, your most sophisticated programs will never achieve their full potential.
So, if you've never taken the time to do it before, spend an hour or two this week documenting the fundamental strategy for each of your email programs. Write it down and share it with everyone that touches your email programs, from sales professionals and executives in your organization to the email marketing agency that helps you launch your campaigns. You can do this quickly and easily by answering two questions for each email program you manage:
1. How does this email program contribute to the success of my organization?
The answer should be a clear and simple one--for example, my clients at Adorama Camera have done a great job of summarizing the direction of their email program. Three words: "Increase Purchase Frequency." Knowing that the work we're doing in the email channel is aiming towards this primary business goal helps keep us all focused and on-track, and has helped us build an email strategy that is both focused and viable over the long term.
2. What is it about this email program that subscribers value--what makes them sign up and stay signed up?
Again, a clear and simple answer is essential. Your subscribers get lots of emails other than yours. What makes yours valuable enough to stand out from the crowd? What keeps your email from becoming the dreaded "bulk email" that nobody wants to send OR receive?
Adorama Camera has also done a great job on this front. Their value proposition is clear and customer-centric: "Adorama Camera's emails help make me a better photographer." What photographer wouldn't welcome an email program that makes them better, no matter what their skill level?
Does your brand or company have a great direction statement and/or value proposition for your email program? Share it with ExactTarget in the comments section of this post.