Do You Have an Email Marketing Plan for 2012?

Fellow email marketers it’s 2012. Do you have a plan?

A well-defined email marketing plan that includes email strategy, review, focus, content, and budget ensures your regular mailings are deployed on schedule, and allows you to allocate time for implementing campaigns that will meet your strategic objectives.

This exercise is about taking a step back and answering the high-level questions that you will have less time for once you are in the fray.

Give Yourself an Email Health Check

The first stage in developing a plan is to audit your current email marketing activities, and to clearly set down your new objectives. It’s probably crystal clear in your head, but does anyone else understand your vision?

The next task is perhaps the toughest. When every bone in your body is telling you to look forward and think about the future, what you really need to do is look backward and answer tough questions about past performance.

  • What did you do well last year?
  • What were your biggest mistakes and regrets?
  • Where were those missed opportunities?

How Did We (and Our Email Blasts) Do?

You can add significant value to your 2012 plan by analyzing historic email campaign performance. This means looking even further back, and your analysis should take in both recurring campaigns as well as your regular and ad-hoc mailings.

It is worthwhile looking at each campaign’s overall performance as well as the specific types of content within each mailing. Including analysis of the timing of your mailings, such as day of the week or week of the month, will also help refine any testing required and ensure future campaigns are as effective as possible.

Focus Your Campaigns

The performance of each email campaign, together with the objectives of your campaigns, will help focus your activities on the areas that present the biggest opportunities. This process will enable you to:

  • Rationalize your current campaigns
  • Highlight campaigns that would benefit from improvements
  • Identify additional contact opportunities such as reactivation mailings,
    cross-sell, up-sell or a series of on-boarding mailings

You can then create an updated version of your subscriber journey, including any changes you plan to make throughout the year.

What Are We Going to Write About?

Ensuring that each of your mailings contains content that is of value to your subscribers can be one of the most challenging aspects of developing and optimizing campaigns. It’s also one of the most important.

Planning the content for your regular mailings will make it easier to generate new content. It may also identify opportunities to increase the frequency of interactions by serializing content and including teasers of upcoming content.

Think about the customer journey for all your subscribers – from new subscribers who have registered on your site, and new customers who opted in during their purchasing process, to regular customers and inactive subscribers. And be sure to include contact from all channels in order to get an accurate picture of what your subscribers will be experiencing.

  • Are you communicating everything your subscribers need to know?
  • Are you missing any opportunities to strengthen your relationship with your subscribers?

Your content plan doesn’t need to include the entire 2012 calendar – quarterly plans can be the most effective as they enable you to include recent analysis, including the findings from any testing.

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