by Melissa Sargeant, CMO of Litmus
As a marketer, you may think endlessly about every email you send or ad you promote if it doesn’t garner the traction you hoped for. The average consumer sees roughly 5,000 ads per day so you need to ensure you are doing everything you can to make your content cut through the noise.
In order for your business to grow, content must stand out to its audience while also driving them to take actions that impact overall business objectives.
The answer to what can drive both awareness and action? A well built out email marketing program. Beyond physically sharing messages with consumers, the email also informs companies about its own customers.
Every person on an email list has opted-in, confirming their interest in the brand and willingness to engage. And, what works for a brand’s core audience in email, will work in other marketing channels.
( Also Read: What is Email Marketing? )
Because of this, every company needs to place an email at the center of its marketing mix. Successful email programs are built with three pillars, and each is vital to both understanding email marketing campaigns and informing other marketing strategies and goals.
In order to set your email marketing campaigns up for success, the first pillar of a solid email strategy is about pre-send optimization. The process of creating perfect emails and ensuring they are delivered error-free is more complex than some may think, especially when the marketing team is creating more than one email at any given time.
The “pre” pillar of an email marketing campaigns includes email conception and planning, copywriting, graphics and design, coding and development, data logic, and setting up in an ESP, reviews, and approvals, and testing and troubleshooting. Only then can you click send.
Without a pre-send process, scattered feedback and last-minute changes run rampant leading to frustration and an increased likelihood of mistakes. A strong-pre-send workflow comes with many benefits including taking the guesswork out of design, reducing manual steps, setting the stage for valuable insights, and streamlining the feedback process, to name a few.
To master the pre-send process and see all the benefits firsthand, follow these six steps:
- Planning – Take the time to create an email brief or use a content planner to ensure all team members are on the same page and are working off of the same source of truth.
- Designing – Have brand guidelines in place to design campaigns faster and provide subscribers with a consistent brand experience.
- Coding – Streamline the building workflow to increase efficiencies and save time.
- Integrating – Speed up workflows and reduce errors by integrating tools into the email process.
- Testing – Test every email before sending it to ensure they look the way they need to.
- Reviewing and Approving – Get outside feedback and review to bring a fresh perspective to a campaign. Prioritize who is included in the review and consolidate comments and edits when possible.
After an email undergoes the pre-send process and is sent, the post-send process begins. This stage includes analyzing a campaign’s engagement and performance data to learn what worked well and what didn’t to improve future emails.
On average, teams spend 2.6 hours on post-send analytics and analysis. While this is a substantial amount of time, it would take even more time if the campaign misses the target audience and you have to start all over again.
Invest the time to understand what messages resonate with the audience and drive action by setting up a post-send workflow to analyze campaigns. This data will help your email program while simultaneously informing other marketing and business strategies demonstrating the value of email.
Brands that use third-party email analytics tools see ROI 10% higher than those relying on metrics from their ESP. Make sure to understand how to both find and use the email insights to garner the analysis needed to optimize future campaigns. Start with deciding what to look for.
Don’t try to find every insight available right away, but instead determine a few to start with, like the areas where greater customer knowledge would prove most beneficial.
Next, choose the right tools. Identify the metrics currently tracked and what tools are needed to find the metrics email marketers should be tracking. Finally, put insights into an actionable format. Translating metrics into insights and a new strategy will benefit the entire marketing program and the company as a whole.
Look at the email planning process and see which parts could benefit from knowing more about what subscribers like, rather than guessing. Also, think about who will use the insights, this helps simplify and position the data analysis in a way that is understandable to all involved.
The final pillar of a successful email marketing process is “perform”. This is where insights are shared to improve the overall effectiveness of a brand’s entire marketing strategy. The first two pillars focus on all things email but, perform takes key findings and share them with company leaders to inform other marketing channels.
If email insights have been properly gathered and presented, the benefits they offer the rest of the business and marketing strategy is three-fold. First, the insights inform how to spend time and money more efficiently. By using insight from dedicated subscribers, marketing spend can be focused on messaging already resonating in email. Second, focus key marketing talent on the same cause.
If everyone is collaborating and sharing insights on the same goal, the company will go farther and faster in reaching the goal. Lastly, leverage the fact that email subscribers are the most consistent and loyal audience and use email data to spot content trends and messaging preferences. Then, apply what worked well via email towards others, digital marketing channels.
At the end of the day, customers perceive a company’s entire marketing mix as a single company or brand experience. Companies need to ensure all marketing channels are working together to provide the cohesive, actionable experience its audiences expect.
Take the knowledge of the three pillars of email marketing campaigns to improve the overall brand experience, help shape the company’s strategies, and reach its business goals. This ensures the value of an email is always understood and seen as a crucial piece of the business.
Melissa Sargeant is CMO at Litmus, where she runs worldwide marketing initiatives including corporate and product branding, demand generation, product marketing, public relations, and event management. Prior to Litmus, Melissa was CMO at customer experience leader SugarCRM and at e-commerce innovator ChannelAdvisor (ECOM).
With more than 30 years of marketing experience in the tech sector, she has expertise in SaaS go-to-market strategy and execution, customer success, digital demand generation, and branding. Melissa also held senior marketing roles at Avalara, CA Technologies (Computer Associates), Digitalsmiths – A TiVo Company, Bluefire Security Technologies, and Guardent (VeriSign).