Just as a professional chef doesn’t just toss some random ingredients into a pan and expect to create the greatest dish in the world, a successful marketer doesn’t just aimlessly send out emails with no real direction or tactic and expect big results.
To create a successful marketing strategy, you’ll need to conduct a few different types of analyzes first. Conducting thorough analysis before you send out even one email; helps your marketing efforts be more effective. The results of your analysis will help you create context for your email campaigns. It helps you be aware of your surroundings, internally and externally, so you can optimize your success and reach your goals.
The first type of analysis or audit called SWOT will help you analyze the internal resources. The second type of analysis or audit called PESTLE will help analyze on the external scale, so that your brand isn’t coming off insensitive or unaware.
Conduct PESTLE and SWOT audits
You can conduct these analyses by simply writing them down on a piece of paper or putting them into a document on your computer. Or if you’re conducting them as a team, you can use a whiteboard or shared document.
Conducting a SWOT audit will help you identify the internal context of your company. It’s an acronym for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Although we are using it in an email marketing context now, it can be useful in a number of applications. As a digital marketer, you may use it for your overall marketing campaigns, for social and SEO strategy, and any number of other things.
When running SWOT audit, start with strengths. What aspects of the company’s marketing resources make it stand out? What is special about the marketing team? Is it eye-catching design and innovation? Does your marketing team really shine at copywriting? Take note of anything your company excels at internally.
Next, weaknesses. Where could your company and/or marketing team improve? Maybe because your team is so talented with design and copywriting, you haven’t prioritized strategy as much.
The third aspect of the SWOT audit is opportunities. What resources, events, or contacts would help your team create an incredible campaign? What types of opportunities can you leverage into something bigger? Maybe a colleague of yours has a contact in another country that can help you build international brand awareness.
Finally, take a look at threats. Similar to opportunities, look for resources, events, contacts, and opportunities that could be detrimental to your brand. Maybe you just heard about a new competitor who is creating the same product as your company.
After you’ve conducted your SWOT analysis, reflect on the results. What is your general analysis of the results? What did you learn from them? Are you more aware of where you shine and where you could use a few improvements? How will you leverage that information to create an effective campaign? If everyone on your team ran an analysis, compare results with your team members. It helps reflect inward on your team and resources so that you know what is available to you internally.
When it comes to PESTLE though, you’ll be analyzing the external. You’ll be researching what is going on externally in your surroundings to find out what strategies will be effective and what strategies you may want to stay away from. PESTLE refers to the political, economic, social, technological, legal, and environmental factors that may affect your email marketing strategy.
First, you’ll consider political issues or happenings across the markets you’re serving. Is there political unrest in a country you just started shipping to? Or perhaps a new piece of legislation that could impact your business has passed and you want to include a mention of that.
Then consider economic factors. People in varying geographic locations may prioritize spending money on certain products, and maybe you can deliver emails that feature products with relevance to those customers.
Next, consider social factors. Try to be in-the-know when it comes to popular cultural references and social media use. Consider things like population growth rates, geographic location, cultural aspects, age, and education levels of those you may or may not be serving.
The next factors to consider are technological. Our world is ever-evolving, and email marketing is not an exception to that. Nowadays, customers are able to ask smart devices in their homes to read their emails aloud. Make sure you consider that when you craft your strategy.
Legal factors should also be considered. This means you should think about any and all laws in the markets you serve. Based on regional legal restrictions and requirements, specific tactics and marketing may not be lawful.
Finally, consider the external environmental factors that could affect your strategy. Examples of environmental factors that should be considered, are climate change, sustainability, and natural disasters.
Set SMART goals
SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. SMART goals can apply to the overall marketing campaign or social, SEO, or email marketing. So what do SMART goals look like in the context of an email marketing campaign?
First, let’s discover what it means for an email marketing campaign to be specific. It means that when you’ve made it to your destination, you know that you’ve arrived. If your goal is specific, it probably answers a couple of the following questions.
- What do I want to accomplish?
- Why is this a goal?
- Does it have a specific reason, purpose, or benefit?
- Who is involved?
- Who is the recipient?
- Where should the goal be delivered?
- What are the requirements and constraints?
For example, growing a brand for an app-based tech company. Your team wants to grow the brand. However, growing the brand is not a specific goal. What does it mean to grow a brand? How will you know if you’ve grown the brand if you aren’t specific in the goal to begin with? So maybe the goal is to add a certain number of names to your subscriber list over the course of your email marketing campaign.
Next up is measurable. When it comes to making sure your goals are measurable, ask yourself what evidence will prove whether this was successful or not. Let’s say your team decides that you need to increase app downloads to prove that there is a need for your product. How many downloads are sufficient? 100? 1,000? 10,000? Choose a number that you can track and measure along the way.
You can tell if a goal is measurable by asking how much, how many, and how will I know when it’s accomplished? Sometimes a simple yes or no will answer whether you hit your goal, but sometimes that won’t be enough. You’ll need to rely on metrics. An example of an email marketing metric would be ROI or return on investment. As stated before, email marketing has an average ROI of 4,200%, or $42 for every $1 spent. That’s an example of a metric.
As you know, the A in your email marketing smart goal stands for attainable. You want to ensure the goal you were setting is realistic because, well your goal is to achieve your goal. However, you do want your goal to be somewhat challenging because you want to see some kind of positive progress or change.
If your company typically gets about 300 downloads a week and you want to push to get more through an email marketing campaign, how many more downloads is attainable yet still challenging? An unattainable goal might be tripling your weekly downloads the first month into the campaign. It could happen, but it might not be super likely for your company based on current numbers. So what is a more attainable goal? Maybe it’s weekly growth of 1.5 times, or 450 downloads per week, one month into the campaign.
Now that we have a specific, measurable, attainable goal, we need to make sure it’s relevant. In other words, does it make sense to try to reach this goal? You’ll want to think about how your email marketing goal lines up with company values and overall company-wide goals. Does this goal make sense with what you’re trying to do as a company? Does this goal match your organization’s needs and priorities?
Finally, you’ll want to make sure your goal is time-bound. This means your goal has a deadline. Without a deadline, there’s no real way to know if you’re making progress at a good pace. It’s important to note that time and metrics go hand-in-hand with one another, because time can also be used as a metric.
So far, we know that the goal is to increase weekly app downloads by 1.5 times, or 450 downloads, per week. Let’s say we will do this by running an email marketing campaign where the call to action is for subscribers to download the app if they don’t already have it. If we say this campaign is going to run for three months, we’ve now added a deadline. So our goal is to increase weekly app downloads by 450 downloads over three months.
By the end of the three months, we’ll know if we got to 450 more downloads a week or not because our goal was specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.
Create an email marketing strategy
An email marketing strategy is a set of procedures that a marketer identifies and follows to achieve their desired marketing goals with email advertising.
Build your email marketing strategy
There is no one way to create an email marketing strategy. You can record strategy on paper using a writing utensil. Or, you can use a word processing application like Microsoft Word or Google Docs. Instead, it’s more important to include steps commonly found in other successful strategies. The sections of email marketing strategy include:
- Set your goals
- Choose an email marketing provider
- Build your email marketing subscriber list
- Evaluate brand guidelines
- Determine email frequency
- Determine performance measuring methods
i. Set your goals
The first step of creating an email marketing strategy is defining your email goals. These goals are often in line with your business goals, meaning your emails will work to achieve the goals that you have for your business.
Some common goals include:
- Increase brand visibility
- Increase website traffic
- Increase sales
- Acquire new customers
- Build relationships with existing customers
- Increase brand loyalty and loyal customers
Defining your email marketing goal first will help guide you when choosing relevant email options in the upcoming strategy steps.
ii. Choose an email marketing provider
An email marketing provider, or email marketing service, is a company that offers email marketing or bulk email services. Choosing the right email marketing provider can significantly impact the success of your email campaign. Some popular email marketing providers are:
- Constant Contact
When deciding which service is best for your brand, you will need to consider the following factors:
- Email list management
- Template features
iii. Build your email marketing subscriber list
Next, determine how you will build and maintain an engaged subscriber list. Building email lists is an ongoing process. To build an email list, you can:
- Create a signup from on your website
- Create an in-person sign up list
- Share a signup form on social media
Once you create a signup list, you’ll be able to divide it into smaller groups based on criteria like interests, location, or purchase history, in a process known as segmentation. This will help you target specific groups for specific goals.
iv. Evaluate brand guidelines
When a business wants to establish a distinctive brand identity, they often create a list of rules and standards that convey how their brand should be represented. These rules are the company’s brand guidelines and they apply to all content produced by the company, including emails.
In your email marketing strategy, identify specific brand guidelines that will be relevant to your email marketing campaigns. These guidelines can include the following:
If your email marketing service allows you to create templates for your emails, you can apply specific guideline details for all your brand’s outgoing emails for a consistent brand identity.
v. Determine email frequency
Stating how often your emails will be shared will help you plan out how often your emails will reach your subscribers. Later in the course, you will learn more about how to establish email frequency and how to create a schedule for sending emails.
vi. Determine performance measuring methods
When you begin your email marketing campaigns, you’ll need to analyze the success of your campaigns. The tools you’ll use are based on your available resources. Most email marketing providers offer basic reporting that tracks essential metrics like how many of your emails were opened, unsubscribe, and click-through rate (CTR). Some providers also monitor bounce rate, which is the percentage of emails that have not successfully reached recipients. You can also run a deliverability check that determines if your emails are getting to their intended recipients.
Be sure to state in your email marketing strategy which of these tools will be most effective for analyzing your campaign success. Also be sure to state when you plan to collect and evaluate these performance measuring methods.
Outlining the steps and procedures of an email marketing strategy can help you develop a successful, organized, and well-thought email marketing campaign. These steps will guide you as you strive to create emails that achieve your marketing goals.
Happy learning and good luck!