Ever heard the business term continuous improvement? It means you want to keep on improving. Improving  your skills, your company, or even the results of your email marketing campaign.

Several components are necessary for continuous improvement of your email program. But often one of these is missing….

Continuously improving your email campaigns

I like it. I like it when people are able to move beyond common excuses like “being too busy” or “not knowing how to” and make a commitment to improve. It shows ambition, it adds spice, it can build enthusiasm for entire organizations. Some people even call that enthusiasm drive. So what are the most important parts of your continuous improvement engine?

Greasing the wheels

To reach continuous improvement, you need to grease the wheels. Clarifying your outcomes (like for instance 30% extra conversion) is only the first part. You need to do to reach those outcomes. Yes. Do, do, do. Complete the tasks that lead up to great email campaigns. Create a list of things you need to Do. You know it makes sense.

For some list inspiration, take a look at this email marketing bucketlist article.

Breaking goals down into steps and tasks

Goals can’t be set in a vacuum. Each goal needs a plan; that is where the do part comes in again. It’s the intersection of email marketing strategy, planning and execution.

Say a company wants to improve conversion by 30%. How to do it? The idea is that the company needs to make its email campaigns more effective. The plan is to add extra segmentation based on age groups.

To get to the segmentation-based email, the process is broken up into steps.

  • Put the correct data (age, birthdates) in the email database
  • Differentiate emails for the age groups
  • Send the age-specific emails
  • Review the conversion and refine the email campaign

I have simplified the steps in the example, but you get the point.

Those steps are then broken up into tasks, the things you need to do. Again: you need to do, do, do to see results.

Plan B: Seeking alternatives

But if one way doesn’t work (well enough), you need to shift gears and change it. If the potential for the +30% is still there, refine the plan. For instance, you could send different types of emails to those groups.

If your original plan doesn’t show the potential, go to plan B. Seek out alternatives. Preferably, your plan B is also going to be a best plan possible. That can mean most efficient, most gratifying, most enjoyable and best results.

In short, if plan A doesn’t work, shift gears and change it or change course and go directly to plan B.

The engine for continuously improving your email program

Setting goals based on tasks (or realizing the steps, basically the things you need to do) and on outcomes (like increased sales) makes it possible to shift from one plan to the other, or to radically change things in an email program. These are the key ingredients, the driving forces, to improving your email program. You can call it the engine of continuous improvement.

The missing part of your engine

Sometimes I see one of these crucial parts missing:

  • Setting goals based on outcomes
  • Rewarding people based on the tasks they perform
  • Understanding what effective email marketing is
  • Knowing your priorities and having a structured way to get there

Missing any of those is a recipe for an underperforming email program, because the parts are interdependent.

Do you know what happens if there is a part missing from an engine? It doesn’t start. By the off chance that it does start, it will stop running in the long run. So make sure your email campaign has goals based on outcomes as well as on the steps to get there.