Back to school basics for email marketing

In the United States, it’s the time of year when school kids and college students across the country are beginning class for the school year. Fall semester has begun, and with Labor Day (another American holiday) coming up, summer is just about over, for all intents and purposes.

In the spirit of going back to school, a time when students across the country are getting refocused on learning, here is a checklist of items to help your email program come together the way you intended:

  1. Start with an objective: what’s the end result you’re aiming to achieve? Students have a degree or certificate in mind when they enroll. Be sure your call to action is going to help you achieve the goal you’ve set out to reach. Don’t bury the action in a big block of text and don’t only include it in an image that’s likely to be turned off.

  3. Assemble a supply list: what is it you’ll need to get the job done? Whether it’s a relevant landing page for the email campaign or the buy-in from team members to fulfill the email’s call to action, make sure you have your resources in order before activating the campaign. Don’t send an email out with a free giveaway offer if you don’t have the commitment of purchasing and anyone who will have to help fulfill the offer, such as cashiers or your fulfillment house.

  5. Who else is in your class? If you haven’t already done so, sign up for emails from your competitors.  Check out what they’re doing to keep an eye on the information your customers or clients are potentially reading.

  7. Remember to put your best foot forward: There are so many ways to address this issue, whether it be testing how your email is rendering across platforms or proofing for typos, be sure your emails are as polished and presentable as they can be.

  9. Be open to learning: Review metrics after each send and adjust future campaigns accordingly. Hopefully your production lead times allow for flexibility and adapting your plans based on recent past campaign performance.

  11. Make new friends: In email marketing terms, this is also called growing your list. Just as with personal relationships, look for quality not quantity. Are you adding the best possible contacts to your database? There are plenty of co-registration tactics that will yield a large number of subscribers, but they may not be your best customers in the future. I always recommend promoting an email program in such a way that captures people who have willingly sought you out: web visitors, customers who have made online purchases, personal referrals from current list members and even those who orbit in your social media circles. Don’t forget to capture Facebook friends and Twitter followers – even FourSquare check-ins are a good source of emails.
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