How to Make Your Next Email Marketing Campaign a Success

Email marketing campaigns still offer one of the best ROIs out there. They’re cost-effective and provide one of the best lead-generation tactics available. The best email marketing programs can pull up to a 30% rate compared to just 2-3% for direct mail. Before you rush out to implement your next campaign though, first employ a little strategy.

The good news is you don’t have to put together a full-blown email marketing plan in order for your next campaign to be effective, but you should define the following before you get started:

Who is your audience, and what do you want them to do? How well do you know your audience? Can it be broken down into subgroups? If so, maybe they aren’t all legitimate prospects for your next campaign. This really comes down to your in-house list keeping. The more information you have on your customers and their interests, the better. Beyond that, what’s your call to action? It can often help to have more than one. For example, “Click here to buy our latest widget” can be your main CTA, but you could also follow it up with “Click here for more information”. Once they’ve clicked through, you’ve established interest, and can follow up on the lead.

What tools other than email do you use? The best marketing campaigns are integrated because they take a holistic approach. They’re more interesting, impactful, and typically have higher response rates, which translates to more leads. In addition to your email campaign, you might try a direct mail postcard with an offer, or purchase pay-per-click advertising and post to your Facebook fan page. The important thing to keep in mind here is that your campaign should have a unifying look, feel, message and offer.

Outline the executional details. What software program will you be using to send your email campaign? What will your subject line, your lead-in and your offer be? How much do you have budgeted? All are good to know, as they can directly effect your results. Another good question to ask is what kind of response you’re anticipating. If it’s a lot you’ll probably want to implement an autoresponder with a form response that promises a more detailed response within 24 hours. Today’s consumers expect this kind of service and without one you could actually do more harm than good.

Establish a goal and tailor your program to meet it. In order to measure a campaign’s success it’s necessary to have a clear goal. If yours is to increase awareness you could measure success by adding, say, 200 new emails to your list in one month. Click-through ratios are another way to measure success.

Establish a time frame for your program. You might want to send out multiple emails. For example, if you’re running a special for the month of April, you could send one out at the end of March alerting your customers and prospects to it, and then follow up with emails every week. It’s a good idea to test the campaign’s success along the way using the metrics you’ve established above. If you’re not getting the click-throughs you would like, for example, try revising your subject line, lead-in, or even improving on your offer.

The most important part of your strategy is having a clear sense of your objectives. Each tool you use is a tactic; your plan should connect how each tactic delivers on each objective.

Also, keep in mind that by far the two most important factors are your offer and the list you use. No matter how good your execution, you won’t be able to sell lipstick to, for example, male basketball players.

Resources: If you have an in-house, opt-in email list that needs some attention, check out LISTSERV email list management software. There’s even a free version for lists under 500 addresses.

Template Zone provides hundreds of customizable HTML email templates you can use to send out through an email service provider like ExactTarget or Constant Contact.

If you don’t have a privacy policy on your site explaining what you’ll do with people who decide to opt-in to your email list, you need one. You can create one at GeneratePrivacyPolicy.com.

Summary Plan your marketing campaign carefully against set objectives. Measure how the actual response compares to your planned response. Test one variable of your email program at a time. Each time you send out an email program tailor it to include all the feedback you have received from prior emails. This cycle will ensure that your program continuously improves.