Many businesses check their marketing efforts monthly, quarterly, bi-annually or even annually. This is a normal practice, and you may even have meetings scheduled around these time frames, but there are many other scenarios that could push you to revise your email marketing strategies.
Below, I will point out a few reasons as to why and when you may want to check up on email marketing.
The Season Calls For It
If you are a retail store or your business is affected by holidays or seasons, it is important to check your marketing efforts around these dates. I suggest making opening and closing dates for each season. These dates mark the start and finish of each marketing cycle. During a cycle, your marketing is executing on all cylinders. Rarely should you change things within these dates. The idea is to create a plan, execute it and then review the results to make improvements. If you try to make changes while your plan is being executed, it could be difficult to pinpoint what made your plan actually work. Be patient and try to create plans you can execute from start to finish. If you are new to email marketing, start with small campaigns of just 1 – 2 emails and then branch out to more as you get the hang of it.
When planning out a season, I suggest planning at least 1 – 3 months before it starts (Depending on the size of your company and people involved) larger companies will need more time. I don’t suggest to plan too far ahead, though, since you want your strategies to be as relevant as possible.
When reviewing your campaigns after the close of a season, it is extremely important you look for improvements to use when that season comes back around or improvements to make on your next season campaign.
Important Changes Within Your Company
Let’s say you just added a new product or service. This is a perfect time to revise your marketing efforts. You want to make sure this new product or service is getting its well-deserved spotlight. If you are in the middle of an existing cycle that is being executed, you can maybe just include a one-off email to announce your latest addition and later plan on how to incorporate this new product or service in your ongoing marketing strategy.
Important Changes Outside Of Your Company
Based on your industry, what has changed outside of your company? It is important to quickly adapt to these changes to always stay ahead of your competition. Some changes may not affect your marketing strategies directly, but if they do, you can get a huge advantage over your competitors. For example, if you are a web consultant and you know Google is making changes to their algorithms, you could prepare an introductory email to inform your subscribers of potential updates they may need on their website for best practices & performance. Making sure you always inform and stay ahead of the curve with industry standards will give your subscribers a piece of mind that they made the right decision on choosing you for their needed service.
End Of Marketing Cycle
If you don’t have seasons or holidays to follow, make your own! You can create short and long term marketing cycles to check up on. This is common for service providers, consultants or freelancers. Let’s say you just hosted a Webinar. You will be sending emails before and after that webinar, right? Well, before starting up your next webinar, be sure to check the stats and overall strategy to ensure you improve as much as you can. I once signed up to a few webinars hosted by the same company. At the end of each webinar, they had a sequence of emails scheduled to be sent to the attendees. To save time, I saw they used the same sequence, which is ok … but they could have fixed the typos and spelling errors if they had thoroughly checked the campaigns before and after each webinar. Instead, they just made one campaign and copied it for all of their webinar series. It is important to check for overall improvements in your message and calls to action but most important, make sure your copy and grammar are correct. We can all make mistakes, but if you make the same mistake multiple times in a row, you are showing a lack of attention towards your subscribers.
When creating your email marketing strategy, no matter how long your marketing cycle is, you want to plan, execute, learn and update. It is important to set a strategy and be patience to review the results. If you have a longer campaign, try to divide it into sections by setting milestones and goals. This way, you won’t have to wait until the end of the entire cycle to update or make changes to your emails.
I’ve outlined a few main areas you can look into when revising your email marketing efforts:
- How do people sign up to start receiving your emails? Is the signup process clear and easy to find? If you have a long page, try to have signup options in several areas instead of just the top or bottom.
- Can the subscriber quickly understand what they are signing up for? Eg. Signup to our Monthly Blog Updates. Let your subscribers know what you will be sending them, “Blog Updates”. And how frequent, “Monthly”.
- Is the signup process easy to follow? No complicated steps, only the necessary steps.
- Are you asking for enough information? What is the information you NEED from your subscriber to better segment and organize your list(s)?
- Too much information? Asking for too much could scare potential subscribers away. Ask yourself, what information do you need to get them in the proper list or segment? Remember, you can also learn from your subscriber based on their behavior, later on, to further segment their preferences.
Effectiveness of each email and step
- What is your open rate? This will relate closely to your subject lines. If you notice a low open rate, try changing some of your subject lines. For emails that have issues, try creating A/B tests to try multiple subject lines to include the best.
- What is your engagement or click rate? Make sure your email delivers the message it promised and ensure your calls to action are well visible. Avoid having too many different calls to action but feel free to have various buttons referencing the same call to action.
- What do the analytic stats look like on your page? Once someone clicks on the call to action from the email, are they sent to the correct page? Does this page align with the message in the email and can the subscriber easily understand and navigate to the next step?
Integration with other marketing strategies
- How does email marketing fit in with your other marketing channels? Email marketing is one of the most powerful marketing channels out there but if you are using other channels in parallel, it is important to sync them all up to avoid sending the exact same message on all channels at once. It is common that you will have an overlap of people who subscribe to your emails and follow you on other channels as well. Choose highlights and perspectives by channel and imagine if you were to receive all of your messages … does it make sense? Or does it feel like redundant blasting?
- Do you have an easy flow? As briefly mentioned in the point above, make sure your other marketing channels work with each other. Sign yourself up to your own flow and put yourself in various scenarios. What if you were just an email subscriber? Do you get enough information? What if you are subscribed to everything? Is it too much? If you haven’t already properly segmented your lists, doing this exercise will also help you better organize in the future
I hope this information helps you identify how often you should check your email marketing strategies. If you have any other suggestions, we would love to hear them in the comments below!