Email strategy: Do you stick to yours? (what do you mean you don’t have one?!)

email strategy

Email strategy, you have one right? It makes up part of your overall communications strategy, dovetails nicely with social strategy and everyone in your marketing team are aware of what your email strategy is and work towards delivering it with every email decision you make. You don’t? Why isn’t that a surprise? Well I guess it’s not a surprise because I have worked with hundreds of companies over my fifteen years in email and the number of companies that had an evolved email marketing strategy and devised it based on the numbers could be counted on one hand.

So what to look for? All clients look at their campaign numbers and try and work out what worked from the successful campaigns but rarely learn from the mistakes. I recently had the pleasure to listen to this podcast and the story about Abraham Wald certainly struck some chords with me. Basically the story goes back in the second world war a group of engineers were commissioned to look at the hulls of planes that had been in dog fights to determine the best places to reinforce the planes for future missions. The engineers having inspected the planes immediately advised the war office to reinforce the planes in the areas where they received the most bullet holes, seems logical, that’s where they received the most fire right! Well Abraham Wald disagreed he argued that the areas that received the most fire and still allowed the planes to make it home in one piece were completely the wrong place to reinforce, he argued that the real evidence was in the planes that didn’t make it back, not in the ones that did. He argued that the most lightly hit areas in the most sensitive positions like the engine were the places to be reinforced. When you look at it like that of course he was right. If you apply that to email marketing strategies then all your planes came home so you can take learning from the emails that failed as well as the ones that succeeded and apply those learnings to your strategy.

email strategy
% daily users of both email and social by age

Try to step away from your emotional attachment with your email marketing and be prepared to ask yourself the difficult but right questions. Take a look at your business and ask where you make money, and why do you make money in that particular part of the business. What can you predict is going to happen in the future which you need to take into consideration, that you need to plan for, not just the good things but the risks to your business, how do you incorporate these things into your email strategies. Then take a look at the things that could prove successful for you, what opportunities present themselves, could you automate email programs based on system led events like anniversaries or basket abandonment or cross sale emails.

Is your current email program inline with and supporting your other communications strategies. Is there a connect between your social media and your email program? Once you have devised change how do you deliver it? What stakeholders and gatekeepers do you need to get buy in from in order to push change through. Lastly but not least you also need to work out how and what you will be measuring in order to continue to improve and evolve.

So, do you have your email strategy in place? And are you following it or do you need some help?