Are you getting everything you can out of your email campaigns? In almost every organization I’ve worked with email marketing is one of the most effective tactics for driving sales. The one-two punch of low cost of entry and high ROI makes it easy pickings for most marketers. Quality communication with your prospects and customers on a regular basis can get you closer to that Nirvana of people actually looking forward to your message, or missing it when it doesn’t show up.
When reviewing successful email tactics I found three groups of email marketers. Many organizations grow through all three levels of proficiency as their email programs expand. Depending on what level your organization practices at you may still have opportunities to exploit, or use this as an opportunity to show off to your boss that you truly are a master!
The 3 Levels of How Much Email Smackdown You Can Lay Down:
- Getting Started
Qualification for the Getting Started level is a simple question “Can you get an email to customers or prospects out the door?” Getting your list in order, writing copy (a compelling offer please, not corporate PR-speak), and checking simple stats like open and click rates are the basic membership card. At this stage list management can be a significant headache and testing or multi-stage campaigns are enough to make your head explode if email is not your full time responsibility.
Intermediate email practitioners move from just getting the message out the door to testing. Splitting your list to optimize subject lines, message length, graphics and infinite other combinations is a critical skill to have if you are devoting at least one person full time to your email campaigns. Ironically enough, the biggest mistake I see made in this stage is too much testing. At some point you need to do an ROI analysis to see if the lift you are getting from testing is worth the effort, you may find that if your lists are fewer than 100k you’d be better off spending your time on more content rather than trying to squeeze out another 1/10 of 1 percent on the conversion rate.
At the top end, Experts are out on the edge by pushing their email vendors to the feature limit, and are usually involved in integrating the email process to other systems. Some of the things that you’ll find an Expert doing: Taguchi testing (also known as multi-variate testing, where multiple variables are tested at the same time), throttling (stretching and testing send times to see how results are affected), and advanced integration with Salesforce.com or your website. At this level the masters are always testing and reach levels that the average practitioner never sees. I see this as a huge opportunity in the future of marketing automation – there’s no reason that best practices across the industry can’t be bundled up and made simple enough for the lower levels. If you’re doing anything interesting at this level or have anything on your horizon please comment!
If you are interested in other tactics beyond email, and other points of marketing automation (such as passing more qualified leads to sales), please check out my latest book B2B Marketing Confessions.