With the first quarter of the year behind us already, what will you do to maximize email marketing’s contribution to your bottom line from here on out? Although raising email open and click-through rates seems to be forever on the agenda, there’s a lot more to creating a successful program than focusing on boosting response and engagement.
Here are three worthy challenges to put in place for the remainder of your marketing and business year that will have you focusing on your core asset: your list. (Next month, we’ll look at three additional challenges that focus on overall program improvement):
1) Clean Your List
When was the last time you “scrubbed” your email list? Do you routinely run a comprehensive hygiene program that identifies and weeds out “problem” addresses on your file like:
- Misspelled and typo-ridden email addresses (most of which are undeliverable, or should be) which somehow were added to your list already compromised
- Spam traps – email accounts which have either been abandoned by one-time real owners and are now run and monitored by their hosting companies to catch unwanted email, or fictitious email addresses set up as intentional traps. Almost every marketer has the former type on his list.
- Outdated email addresses for valid, current customers. Many of these can be remedied with a “change of address” service identifying new, more relevant email addresses for these individuals
- Totally abandoned subscriber accounts that have shown no open or click activity in at least the last year.
All of the above and more are reasons to routinely put your email list through a regular hygiene program which corrects faulty addresses, identifies spam traps and fixes common errors. And don’t think just because you do this once you won’t need to be constantly vigilant; you will. All the more reason to use email address validation and verification services right from the start – from the moment you collect email addresses, especially online.
2) Grow Your List
With proper email address verification, validation and hygiene practices in place, your next challenge is to grow your email subscriber file. Set a year-over-year growth goal like 10%, 15% or 20%. Depending on your churn rate, just replacing unsubscribes might be a challenge for you. On the other hand, for many marketers having long-standing customer relationships, unsubscribes represent minimal loss and mitigating them warrants less attention than aggressive net list growth.
Start by assessing all your sources of email subscribers. Where can you amplify your efforts? Which sources are you overlooking or ignoring? Here are a few places to begin:
- Expand and increase opportunities to sign-up for your email list via your social media pages, especially Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. Customers and brand fans interested in connecting with you on social media will also often be interested in the more exclusive treatment, access and deals they’ll receive by being part of your email program.
- Assess traffic sources to any stand-alone email address collection or opt-in pages (content marketers listen up!). Which traffic sources are resulting in the best conversion rate(s)? Can you afford to scale-up your media spend there?
- Don’t forget offline opportunities to ask customers for email addresses – in-store, call-centers, via sales agents, catalogs, direct mail, bill inserts, etc. Leave no stone unturned.
3) Send More Email
That’s right, I said send more email (Dela!). But I don’t mean simply increasing your “blast” frequency – I mean intelligently segmenting and devising automated behavior-based triggered campaigns. Sending more email will result in greater overall campaign frequency and an increase in volume, but it’s not necessarily a straight-line curve since not everyone on your list should receive every type of message you can send.
Still, you’re not ready to send more email until you’ve got your list in order, which is why addressing list hygiene challenges is a must. Then, once you’re growing your list more aggressively you’ll also develop new or unique segments to message.
For a first step to understanding the email marketing campaign types that make up the building blocks of a successful program, the unique advantages they deliver and how they differ from one another, see A Blueprint for Email Messaging Strategy Success.
Next month I’ll give you three MORE email marketing program improvement challenges, but in the meantime, tell me in comments below what you’ve encountered if you’re in the process of working through the challenges above. What have you done or plan to do? What have you learned?
And as always, if you’re struggling I’m here to help. Request a free breakthrough session here or get specific coaching by the minute for your unique situation.
Tags: email list, email list growth, email marketing, email validation, email verification, engagement, frequency, list, messaging strategy, trigger, triggered-email