Marketers, if we could give you some advice, it'd be to stop listening to comms 'gurus' and shake-up your email strategies. Our managing director, Adam Oldfield, explains why to MAD//Fest...
OK, we may have all found ourselves working in marketing for different reasons. There are strategists, linguists, analysts and illustrators among us, as well as born presenters and quiet calculated thinkers.
This is the beauty of the creative profession, for sure. We’re different, we all bring something to the table, and with the freedom to do our jobs, the results can be pretty electric.
Whichever camp you fall into, I bet you didn’t get into marketing for the sh*t bits. I find it hard to believe that any marketers, at the start of their career, thought “I want to spend my days inputting data into spreadsheets to try and justify my ROI”, or “There’s nothing I love more than fiddling with email templates that don’t deliver the look, and feel, they promise”.
Being preached to by communications ‘gurus’ who profess to know it all, was also never on my hit list as a young marketer, either. NOBODY KNOWS EVERYTHING.
So, I’m not here to tell you, line by line, what you MUST do with your emails. I would actually rather set you free. Encourage you to put the rule book down for a second. Take on some advice, yes. Observe the genius of others who are doing great things in your world. Soak up some new learnings and adapt your way of working. But more importantly than anything else, I want to rid you of the shackles that plague your weeks and prevent you from having the career you set out on the hunt for.
So here are a few tips (not rules, tips!)
Focus on the killer idea
This doesn’t mean you’re on the hunt for something complex, but spend time generating ideas, especially if you want to create an integrated campaign with legs. Ideally with the input of others, aim for something that could become multidimensional, so you can talk about it from several angles, and sense-check the idea with the sales team.
Then produce a messaging framework with longevity but adaptability. Don’t say the same thing across every comms channel, and don’t say the same thing in every email you send out, either. We find a six-step process works pretty well, as it can nurture even the most tuned-out recipient towards higher levels of interest and interaction. Think introduction, social proof, gain, fear, logic and urgency.
Don’t split test
I’m all for iteration – testing and measuring to achieve increasing marginal gains. But do you think a billion dollar brand marketers waste that much time pondering over subject lines, for example? No – because they also aren’t naïve enough to think that a single email alone will make their company’s fortune. So yes, experiment, and analyse, and create a bit of healthy competition in your team – drinks are on whoever’s subject line* drives the least revenue maybe? But don’t starve yourself of creative oxygen, sweating about the small stuff.
*To avoid being this person, focus on the audience, make it short and sweet – 50 characters tops, and go ULTRA personalised. Lazy does nobody any favours.
Strive to save time
One-trick comms are unlikely to work, but you don’t want to break the bank with expensive campaigns or hours of lost time. So, focus on the input of strategic effort, not data entry, manual segmentation, clunky templates or unautomated journey planning. You haven’t got the headspace for that, and tech should do it for you.
Rely on reporting
Love or loathe data, it can be your biggest ally. So, DO spend time looking at what it tells you, or lean on someone to do that for you if this really isn’t your bag. Force24’s reports run automatically* to identify trends that help to trigger ‘next step actions’ and uncover the metrics that evidence just how much bottom-line impact marketing has on brand sales and retention. (And our team can help you consistently push out compliant, beautiful and responsive assets that look the absolute business – without you needing a PhD in code!)
*See, setting you free, remember!
Understand email cadence
There’s still so much debate surrounding spamming and the sending of unsolicited emails. But there’s a difference between email spamming and email cadence, that I want you to know about.
If you send an email on a day when a prospect wants to buy a product or service – that’s likely to be welcomed, even if they didn’t know they wanted to receive it! This isn’t spam.
The challenge, of course, is to shape the order, messaging, and timing of your emails, so that they are strategically sent to reflect the needs of that individual and where they are positioned in the buying funnel. I’m not even talking about how you treat a specific segment of data – I’m encouraging you to think about that one single person, even if they are in a sea of 50,000+ contacts.
I know, it sounds impossible. But it’s up to a marketer to leverage these opportunities and nurture each recipient accordingly. And this is where intuitive marketing automation technology will prove pivotal.
If your platform doesn’t do this for you, organise a meeting with your account manager and ask some strong questions. If they can’t answer them, you’re working with a dinosaur.