Stepping up your email strategy

Email is a great channel, it continues to thrive, delivering significant revenue and measurable ROI. Indeed for many companies it’s business critical. If the emails stopped, revenue would stop and within days.

Peter Drucker said that adequacy is the enemy of excellence, this can be so true of email. Many email programmes are performing adequately and keeping the CEO and CFO happy so they are not pushed to do better. This post is the starting point to get strategic with email marketing and help get more revenue.

The starting point is two sides of the same coin, the marketing objectives and the email value proposition.

Marketing Objectives

The marketing objectives are all about you and what you need to achieve. All good strategies start with clarity of objectives. Nobody has ever reached a destination if they didn’t first know what destination they wanted to reach.

The ultimate goal of any marketing programme is to gain more business. This can be split into the three main areas:

  • Increase number of customers
  • Reduce cost of acquiring customers
  • Increase spend of each customer
  • Increase customer lifetime

Wouldn’t it be nice to do all four? All companies operate with limited resources so there is the need to focus and prioritize on areas that will give greatest value. Then be more specific about how you are going to improve each of those areas, examples of specific objectives include:

  • Drive online purchase
  • Drive in-store footfall
  • Move marketing from direct mail to email
  • Reduce call center activity
  • Direct better quality leads to the call center
  • Grow the email permission database
  • Win-back lapsed customers
  • Get product reviews
  • Build trust
  • Cross sell product
  • Nudge prospects to become customers
  • Reduce abandoned transactions
  • Build a social network community

Your existing metrics and data should help you determine where to focus, where you have your challenges and your biggest opportunities. Perhaps you work hard to get customers but they disappear again after a short time? Or are they loyal but just don’t spend much? Questions like these are the way to help focus on the objectives to which you align your strategy.

Email value proposition

The email value proposition is the coin from the customer side. This is to answer the “what’s in it for me” question. Customers only sign-up and stay engaged if your email is delivering value to them. Define your email value proposition in-line with your marketing objectives. Whilst money related value is always big on the consumer mind, don’t forget that it isn’t the only way to provide value.

The proposition should be simple to say and simple to understand. Groupon are an example of how to do this right. They are clear; their value proposition is a daily email with great deals in your area. Who would have thought that consumers would accept a daily email, given all the concern about frequency and bulging inboxes? Getting the value proposition right and setting the expectation is key.

Groupon were also clear about a key objective of theirs, to increase the number of customers. So they built into their marketing an incentivised referral programme. We may see in time that Groupon reduce this as they move to focus on driving ROI from the database of customers they have amassed.

Once you know what the two sides of your coin looks like, let the marketing objectives and email value proposition guide and drive the thought process to map out your strategy around data and content.

Tim has over 8 years experience in B2C and B2B Email Marketing. He is an Email Marketing Consultant and founder of Zettasphere, helping email marketers get better results and improve revenue from email. An active email industry commentator, DMA Email Council member and chairman of the DMA Email Best Practice hub. He enjoys pushing the boundaries as email continually evolves.

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