The weather, traffic, the economy – no matter how hard you try, chances are – you will not be able to control these things. Notice that your email marketing is not a part of this list. In fact, your email marketing belongs on a list with your attitude, your own finances, and your diet – the things you can (and should!) control but need the tenacity, the desire, and the systems to enable you to do so.
Controlling your email marketing requires a synergy the likes of which, I am certain, Aristotle was contemplating when he announced that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Once you control these five elements of your email marketing, your entire email marketing operation becomes structured, measured, and precise:
1. Sender Reputation
You must know what your reputation is in order to be able to control it – both in life (take note, Kardashians!) and in email marketing. For the latter, you can easily check your sender score at senderscore.org. According to ReturnPath, 83% of the time an email is not delivered to an inbox, it is due to a poor sender reputation.
Staying constantly in the know about your score and acting to fix any issues (inconsistent email volume, irregular frequency, SPAM reports, etc.) will help you control your score and regulate your reputation.
2. Segmented Recipient List
Often, professional email marketers send messages to lists longer than an 80s era yellow pages. The longer your list, the less in control you may feel. However, gaining this important stronghold is a fundamental determinant of controlling your email marketing operation.
To control your list, first invest in list hygiene (these tips will help), then make sure to properly segment your recipients based on profile information, online behavior, and every other subset you can think of. Make sure you remove unsubs, stop emailing those who are not engaging, and continually invest in updating your recipient list.
3. Personalized Messaging and Content
An organized email operation is one that sends the right message at the right time to the right person. With a meticulous, segmented list, you can craft personalized messages that will pique the interests of each subscriber.
However, if you had to write a message for every segment, you would become the proverbial hamster on the email marketing wheel. Instead, use automated feeds to populate your messages with relevant (non-salesy) personalized content. Dynamic email marketing content gives you a scalable solution to treat every subscriber as if they are your only subscriber.
4. Email Marketing Vendors
At face value, email marketing vendors could be classified between the weather and the traffic on the list of things you don’t control. While you cannot control their actions, you can (and should!) control which vendor gets your business.
Constantly testing your providers and benchmarking their results against their competitors’ will give you the power to choose the vendor that is right for each segment in each campaign.
5. Data and Analytics
The McKinsey Maxim tells us that we cannot control what we cannot measure. The last (but most certainly not least) indispensable element that must be controlled is the data. To control your email marketing, you must always know what is working – and what isn’t. What yielded positive ROI – and what needs to be adjusted.
Certainly, it is impossible to do this manually. But it is also error-prone and unadvisable to consolidate information from various sources and base business decisions on an Excel spreadsheet.
For this purpose, you need a big data email marketing solution (like Ongage) that will track your entire email marketing operation – all campaigns, all segments, all AB tests, all vendors – in one easy-to-understand dashboard that will give you the insights you need to shift resources, change tests, and continually drive results.
Each of these five elements is important on its own. When united, controlling your reputation, your list, your content, your vendors, and your data – you will have ultimate control over your entire email marketing empire.