I don’t know if it’s the lure of power that email provides, considering the US Direct Marketing Association forecasts that in 2012, every $1.00 invested in email marketing will provide $39.40 in sales, or the sheer ease of sending email that keeps all but 20% of marketers from having a clear purpose and conversion goals, but it’s alarming that marketers spend as much time as they do putting together email marketing campaigns without better defining the purpose for the overall email initiative.
More to the point, at least according to MarketingSherpa’s 2011 Email Marketing Benchmark Survey, we send emails without purpose and LATE! I know that I’ve been guilty of that as well, but if we’re striving for success in email marketing, we all need to up our game a bit here.
There are two points that I want to make here about improving your email marketing purpose and timeliness.
First, marketers need to determine expectations for each email and determine them in advance of the send. We’ve found that companies without a dedicated email marketing person (that’s most of us) end up shoe-horning email into someone else’s role and positioning as a very minor part of the role at best. The first thing that we need to do is establish a purpose for each email well in advance of the send. According to an email marketing presentation from Constant Contact, the most popular goals that marketers have for the email campaigns are to Promote, Inform or Relate. Those goals might break down like this:
- Motivate purchases
- Increase event attendance
- Inform potential customers
- Differentiate my business
- Help them make the right buying decision
- Increase loyalty
- Encourage more referrals
- Thank Your Customers
The second point that will help to influence your email marketing to make it more “on purpose” and timely is to draft and adhere to an email marketing editorial calendar. Using tools like Chase’s Calendar of Events to come up with holidays and special occasions to align with is another great tactic, but the best email marketers work from a fairly robust calendar to keep their programs on track.
While we’re on the subject of purpose, there’s one last thing that I want to touch on from MarketingSherpa’s 2011 Email Marketing Benchmark Survey and that’s the subject of ‘process priorities’ for email marketers. Now, these may not reflect the overall goals that email marketers have for their programs, but at the end of the day, the overarching focus on list building is not a bad thing, but it’s funny how email, like social media (and every other direct tactic from the past) still comes back to “building bigger lists.” Just don’t lose sight of your purpose while you’re building that huge list…