If you set only one professional new year’s resolution, consider making it this: to improve your organization’s email effectiveness as early as Q2 2015. Whether you’re new to the world of email marketing or a seasoned professional, whether email is a small part of your job description or you run a team dedicated to email strategy, the beginning of a new year is the ideal time to reflect on your current email practices and identify areas of improvement. Over the next 12 weeks we’ll take a deep dive into each aspect of successful email practices, and you’ll be equipped with the strategies necessary to elevate your own email tactics to better engage with today’s busy and always-connected constituent.
Why take on email, one of the (seemingly) easiest forms of modern communication? Because it works when implemented correctly. According to Gigaom and Extole research, email remains the most used digital marketing channel at 86% adoption and the most effective tool for myriad goals, including awareness (41%), acquisition (37%), conversion (42%), and retention (56%).
In my line of work, I subscribe to a multitude of federal agencies’ and organizations’ email newsletters, updates, announcements, and listservs, affording me a unique opportunity to see and analyze what works and doesn’t work across the gamut of government and nonprofits. I’ve identified five key areas in need of the most change. To kick off this blog series, I offer the following questions for you to ponder about your current email strategy related to these five areas, and we’ll examine the answers more closely in the coming weeks.
1. Are you making a spectacular first impression?
The welcome message is the first in what is hopefully a long relationship of messages. Does yours just say, “thanks for your subscription,” or does it set the tone for what your audience can expect from their subscription and lead them to relevant features and resources on your site?
2. What draws them in?
Your message does no good if it’s not opened. Do you taking advantage of the subject line, or do you treat it as an afterthought? Do you know what a preheader is, and do you use it wisely?
3. Does your content meet expectations?
One size does not fit all when it comes to email. Do you segment your audience and tailor your messages to your subscribers’ interests, or do you send a single message to your entire subscriber list every time?
4. How social are you?
“If you build it, they will come” only works in baseball. Do you intentionally direct your subscribers to your social channels with calls-to-action and incentives (and vice-versa)? Do you clearly invite your audience to share your content with their networks, or do you leave that decision up to fate?
5. Do you know your metrics?
Your data drive your success. Do you simply accumulate data, or do you actually put your data to use? Do you hit send with your fingers crossed, or do you hit send with confidence because you consistently test your messages?
I hope you start mulling over these questions now (and sharing your answers in the comments), and by the time Q1 closes, you’ll be able to identify and implement specific strategies to more effectively reach your email marketing goals.
Amber V Hammond is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.