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Opinion

Five key questions to ask before sending your next email campaign

For marketers, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of creating and orchestrating a new email campaign. However, they can often lose sight of the initial goals and objectives they were aiming for when we started the project.

This is why it’s critical to ask the right questions and define objectives for every email campaign – what’s more, marketers must continuously look back at them to refine and optimise campaigns in real time.

Here are five questions marketers should keep in mind when planning their next email campaign.

1. What goal are you aiming for? 

The first question should be an obvious one, but is often overlooked as in the anticipation of getting a campaign out the door – what is the goal of this campaign?

To answer this question, marketers must first outline the overarching objectives of their campaign by thinking through the intended audience, sought-after reaction, overall purpose and finally, the desired outcome of the campaign. Without a clearly defined goal, a campaign is less likely to succeed.

2. Who is your target audience?

The audience is key. Digging deeper into the considerations mentioned above, identifying the target audience is critical for marketers in order to personalise content and maximise success.

You may feel like you know your customer database, but it’s important to remind oneself of the basics at the start of each campaign. Marketers must consider the recipients of their campaign, everything from basic information, to likes and dislikes is of value especially should further segmentation be an option.

Depending on the audience, marketers can then begin to determine the level of personalisation they are able to achieve and types of content that will be most effective.

3. What content is being shared?

After establishing the goals of the campaign and defining the audience, marketers must develop relevant content and a means of delivering the message. Of course, the core of content development is personalisation, so it’s essential that marketers take a moment to think through the tools available to deliver more customised, relevant content to each individual on their database.

At this point, marketers need to consider if there is an opportunity to include multiple types of dynamic content to maximise customisation, as well as if there are certain messages or incentives that need to go to specific recipients. In addition, they must think about any additional points for personalisation – for example, subject lines.

Finally, always check to make sure content is available and renders correctly on a variety of different devices and platforms. Increasingly we’re seeing audiences open most messages on mobile devices, so we must respond accordingly.

4. What time should this all happen? 

There are a few ways to ensure optimal send time, which, in turn means increased open rates, clicks, and conversions. It is vital that marketers understand the open rates of each segment in their database, which will provide insight into the optimum time of day to deploy campaigns. How do open rates perform over time? Are open rates going up or down?

In reality, send time optimisation requires little manual work, as the technology analyses historical data to decide when to send each message. Similarly, marketing automation ensures timely emails are sent after a specific event occurs – for example after registration or download. Automated emails are also easy for marketers to manage and optimise within most of today’s marketing platforms.

5. What does success look like?

Finally, marketers must give thought to what success looks like – this is one of the most important considerations before sending any email campaign. Marketers must ask themselves what metrics they will use to monitor success, how these metrics will be tracked and what key measurements are the most important (for example responses, conversions, clicks, opens, and social shares).

It goes without saying that all of these metrics should be tracked in comprehensive dashboards for maximum visibility not to mention for analysis to improve and optimise future campaigns.

Email marketers are hard-pressed to both execute and then measure campaign performance. These five key considerations will help ensure that ahead of each new campaign, every decision and step is aligned towards a clear, measurable goal. This will, in turn, lead to email marketing success.

Heath Barlow is market lead for Australia at Emarsys.

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