5 telltale signs it’s time to review your email marketing

5 telltale signs it’s time to review your email marketing

Take a step back. A critical look at your email marketing program can be very fruitful. Just like a car, it needs to be checked every once in a while. Fine-tuned, new oil, that headlight fixed. Most senior email marketers know this.

But when do you know it is time to do that checkup? Here are 5 telltale signs that you seriously need an email marketing audit.

1) Take a close look at your statistics.

Bring up the email marketing statistics of the last couple of months. Common email statistics are opens, clicks and unsubscribes. But I want you to maily look at other performance metrics, like your subscriber list growth / health, generated revenue from email and please calculate your email marketing ROI.

Sign one: If your email statistics aren’t measured yet or they look new to you. That is a clear, clear, clear sign your email program has not been steering based on the numbers and can benefit from a review right now.

2) Working towards the right level of results

Any email marketing program should have their goals defined. What are you looking to achieve? How big is your email list? Is it (still) growing? And the conversions created from email, are they at the level they should be? An elephant in the room problem is that there aren’t any (fixed) and clearly defined goals… but after that comes delivering on those businessambitions.

Sign two: If your results aren’t close to your targets and ambitions yet, it is time to improve and review your email program.

3) Being light on resources

A typical online marketeer has many responsibilities and is quite busy with day to day business. Next to email marketing several other tasks are waiting. It takes discipline to clear your agenda. It takes a certain level of knowledge about email marketing to really dive deep into email marketing. It might even seem undoable within your perceived restrictions and resources of your team.

Sign three: If you recognize a lack of resources, it’s time for change. Scramble, beg, steal and borrow if you must, but get those resources. Once the first investment in your email program is done, increased results can turn the budget boat around.

4) The enthusiasm gap

There is only one real golden rule in email marketing. Enjoy working on your program. Once there is no joy in working on (email) marketing from the team. It is time to introduce something new. Maybe go for a new and improved email marketing strategy. It might just be the push to see what needs to be changed.

Sign four: If it isn’t bringing some enjoyment to the team, spark your email program to greater heights and improve.

5) Sign up to your email marketing list with fresh eyes.

Sign up for your email program, as if you were a new subscriber. Every thing you see should be very familiar. A check-up on the subscription process should be done at least once each few months. Does the process feel very easy to go through and is it focused on welcoming the new subscriber? Are you making the most of the subscription process? Most of the time it isn’t.

Sign five: If the subscription process is “leaky”, it is a telltale sign that your email program needs some fine-tuning and change.

Growing towards next level of email maturity and see your program take off.

Research by Marketingsherpa shows that 74% of email marketing programs is stuck in the trial or transition phase of their email marketing program. Note that they define maturity by the way processes are set up and probably more marketers could benefit from some professional email marketing flair.

It is easy to start an email marketing program, or continue a program once it is running. But it’s a lot harder to make it grow to a next level of email maturity, especially if you haven’t grown email program programs before. Often there is a plan somewhere, but it has been a while since anybody has seriously looked at it.

Conducting an email marketing audit will bring valuable insights. And if it is professionally done you will have a concrete plan with improvements points at the end of the audit. That kind of review can seriously help to get you over any speed bumps in your email marketing strategy.

About the Author: Jordie van Rijn

Jordie van Rijn is an independent email marketing consultant. Next to helping companies improve their email marketing results he gives email marketing training and is a writer and speaker in the field of online marketing.
  • philsi

    Really good points here, Jordie.

    We recently did a review of our email program, not specifically because any of your points but because we’d got complacent and knew it. Each campaign did well, and the wider department were happy with them, but by taking a step back and reviewing the whole program we quickly found some improvements (both quick wins and longer term improvements) when we took a step back and looked at the bigger picture.

    I particularly like your point #5: a fresh set of eyes who isn’t involved always helps. I got someone not familiar with our products to sign up, and had quite a few changes based on their questions – things that made sense to us who were involved with the program every day, but not to the average customer.

    Keep up the great blog!


    • Thanks Phil, would love to see some “before and after”” shots on your campaigns. Can you give some examples of what you changed?

      • philsi

        We redesigned all templates so they’re mobile friendly – a few people internally had resisted as we’re in quite a conservative industry that they thought wouldn’t use mobile devices to read email, but the stats were showing consistently 10%+ of people were opening on mobile devices.

        We also removed a lot of acronyms that had slipped into copy that made sense internally but to new or casual members would make little sense, and rationalised our email footers that had grown into monsters.

        Along with this, we’re improving our calls to action, and are in the process of a department wide education programme to improve email copy and design – a lot of bad habits had crept in both from digital team and the wider marketing staff.

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