An email marketing strategy should start with a single goal in mind for the sake of focus and simplicity.
The best-selling business book “Good to Great” was largely about the success of companies that stayed focused on their well-defined mission.
An email marketing strategy may not have a “mission” like a business, but it should have a goal that defines the benefit to the business.
That goal in turn defines the product and what it is supposed to do. Then the results can be measured objectively.
I recently started receiving an email newsletter that simply consisted of a generic dated subject line with a PDF attachment.
The PDF is a multi-page newsletter packed with articles and ads. It didn’t have any links to a related Web site, Facebook page or Twitter account. Its purpose solely was to deliver the content and ads of the newsletter to as many subscribers as possible — mainly for the sake of the ad revenue.
The total subscribers is more than 10,000. It is serving its purpose.
In contrast, I publish quite a few email newsletters for clients and my own site whose purpose is driving traffic to the Web sites.
They don’t have much content because too much content removes the incentive of the subscriber to click and go to the site, thus driving up:
- Brand awareness
- Site visits
- Pages per visit
- Time on site
- Ad inventory
- Ad revenue
- The potential for return visits
These newsletters serve a different purpose. They are not an end product like the other example but rather a pure promotional vehicle.
Advertising in these newsletters is a distraction and a complication. It distracts the subscribers from the core purpose of driving audience to the parent Web sites. It is a complication because displaying ads in an email newsletter is often a problem if the subscribers’ email program blocks images for security reasons.
As a result, advertising rarely appears in them. The “articles” are actually summaries that are as brief as possible in part to push as many headlines with links to the top of the page.
In both cases, the email marketing metric of “open rate” is important. But the metric of “click rate” matters only in the second example.
Both examples are meant to show that the primary goal or purpose of the email strategy defines the product and the metrics used to determine their success or failure.
A good strategy starts with a goal in mind. Then the tactics follow from there.