All senior marketers will tell you, it is wise to review your email marketing periodically. Set time apart to really go through the current processes and email marketing messages.
An email marketing audit can highlight the strengths and weaknesses in your email marketing campaigns. As a result you know what needs to be improved and how.
Going in-depth with an email program review
In my experience even experienced marketers don’t go in-depth with an email marketing audit regularly. They know they should review their email program, but still don’t do it. Why?
1. Getting an fresh look at the email marketing program
One of the hardest things might be to be in charge of strategy, creative direction, sending, reporting, all things email marketing and on top of that do a review. Many email marketers are in a small team and caught up in their day to day business. They basically are the email program. That makes it hard to stay objective to review the program, not being able to look at it with fresh eyes.
2. Freeing up the resources
We know that a quality email marketing audit can easily outweigh the costs. To mature the email marketing program a review should be perfect. Most of the time though an online marketing team is working with a fixed budget. And then it’s hard to get the (extra) resources. If you are not measuring, calculating the additional email marketing ROI is a challenge. So be sure to start measuring the right metrics and get the resources early on in the year. The business case is often as easy as 1,2,3 if you do.
3. Putting the email marketing review on the agenda
A good email marketing review takes time, time that needs to be set aside to critically look at the complete email program. Often it will take external events (like extremely poor response or a nudge from the boss) to initiate the undertaking. This often ends up being a review of a part of the email program and more ad hoc than structurally.
4. Get management buy in
The call for a review can come directly from the trenches. The people that do the work will “feel” the need for improvement. There are many CEOs though that aren’t that digital savvy. And email marketing is bringing in great results already. If it ain’t broke, why try to fix it, right? So there is a need to get management buy-in for an email marketing review. A quick scan of the program can help. It can unveil small changes with big impact. As a first step, proving results works pretty well. And it can help to structural approach.
5. Using a structured approach
A review is meant to highlight the strengths and weaknesses in your email marketing campaigns. But where to begin? Most marketers haven’t done these reviews themselves before. So the plan gets kind of improvised. Or the knowledge about email marketing simply is outside the company. That can cause the review to take more time than needed.
Ask for expertise and experience
One final word of advice. Sometimes the most important elements of the email marketing strategy are missed in the review. Or even worse, marketing based on the wrong assumptions. Even if your digital agency does the review, be sure to get a proven and structured approach to any review. And make sure they have the experience and knowledge that is needed.
A special thanks to the inspiring email marketing pro’s John Caldwell, Samantha Iodice, Rosanna Martinez and Karen Talavera who shared their experiences and views while I was writing this article.