Five Steps to Maximize Your E-mail Campaigns

Once you employ best practices in your e-mail marketing program, you’ll be positioned to make the right decision when it comes to allocating resources most effectively between your various sales channels.

To extract maximum value from e-mail marketing programs, you need to manage them with the same discipline applied to every other direct marketing channel. As you complete your budget planning for holiday 2008 and next year, ask yourself if your team maximizing your e-mail strategy. Are you….

Developing strategic and tactical e-mail plans? There is no reason why the planning process for e-mail marketing shouldn’t be as robust as the process you use for catalog or web marketing efforts. Taking the time to build an annual formal e-mail marketing plan will yield enormous dividends.

Ensuring appropriate measurement and reporting on the results from e-mail campaigns? There is no excuse for not measuring and reporting on key e-mail metrics. Tools exist to make this relatively easy for any size company. Key metrics that you should be tracking include open, click through and conversion rates, average order values, demand, and opt-out rates.

Building a consolidated customer contact strategy? Unfortunately, too few companies have yet to develop fully integrated customer contact strategies. The best marketers today build targeted mail and e-mail contact strategies that enable them to maximize demand and profit from the fewest contacts.

Testing everything? One of the beauties of e-mail marketing is that you can test new concepts quickly and at low cost. Make sure your e-mail plans for the year test the critical variables that drive the program: frequency of contact, creative and offers.

Maximizing segmentation opportunities? E-mails easily allow for microsegmentation—something which is extremely expensive in a print environment. As you are building annual plans, consider the upside you can get from customized creative and making offers to unique customer segments. If your program is large enough, you also should consider using a recommendation engine to populate the products offered to different customers or customer segments. Using a recommendation engine to personalize product offerings is a perfect solution when you have a lot of distinct customer segments and a high SKU count.

Larry Marmon is a partner with Lenser.

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