These are tough times, no doubt. The unemployment rate is hovering around double digits, homeowners are mailing in the keys to their value-challenged homes, and the recent Republican Vice Presidential nominee says she wants to bow out with 18 months left to go on the job.
So when your email marketing campaigns make you feel like you have had enough, recharge with some easy tactics to revive your efforts (and achieve the results you need to get some breathing room from the higher-ups).
- Design and test a new creative look. Don't just create a banner with a different shade of blue. Rather, try out different placements of navigation, different calls to action, and different buttons/text links.
- Test email acquisition through other complementary channels like mobile, Facebook, and Twitter.
- Use the pre-header more effectively (you know, that seemingly static area that most subscribers see first but usually doesn't contain much hard-hitting messaging or helpful info).
- Compare last month's metrics to the numbers from 12 months ago. Examine what has changed, why, and what can you take away from these learnings.
- Ask your subscribers to update their profile and subscription preferences.
- Update your subscription/preference center. Is it dated, accurate, and user friendly? Don't forget to cross-promote other points of digital interaction, such as Facebook Fan pages, Twitter links, and mobile sign-up opportunities.
- Thank your subscribers. It doesn't have to be with a special offer (although that always works well), but sometimes just a nod of appreciation for their permission to send them offers and updates can go a long way.
- Take a look at your resource needs with this question in mind: What do you need to do better for the next six months? That may mean more personnel, outside specialists, better technology, or maybe a boss who "gets" what you are doing and what you are trying to achieve. Which brings us to...
- Provide a high-level view of your email marketing program. Whether it is a dashboard, scorecard, or five-slide PowerPoint presentation, create a document for the C-suite that demonstrates the achievements (and opportunities) of the email program. Think conversions, traffic, and revenue as open rates and bounces often get lost in translation.
- Test subject lines. This doesn't mean more work -- just an extra step to be a smarter marketer.
- Brainstorm for an hour a day on how to improve your overall efforts. The email campaign cycle can be brutal and never-ending, which means it is tough to find time to think big-picture. But it can be well worth it to break away on an ongoing basis and strategize on how to reach your goals and deliver more meaningful messages.
- Grill your email partners. You are paying your agency, consultants, and/or ESP for services, technology, and (hopefully) expertise. Set up time with them to cover trends, new analysis, and uncover what another set of eyes can find.
- Do some homework on the side. Great blogs, tweeters, and industry reports are out there, and are usually free. On the paid side, a plethora of books have been published in the past year (including my own tome). The Email Experience Council also has a recommended reading list, found here.
Simms Jenkins is CEO at BrightWave Marketing.
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