>What are my goals?
>Who is my audience?
>What is my offer?
>How do I measure success?
Evaluate the merchandise data to know what product or service to offer. Establish a testing and rollout protocol for subject lines, creative formats, time of day and day of week. Let the data drive the decisions you make. If you don't have any other data to start with, look at your offline mailings for direction.
Catalog mailers should use the square-inch analysis from the book tied to online sales transactions to determine primary, secondary and tertiary offers and creative presentations that might work best.
If you've dabbled in e-mail in the past, use what you've learned about how your customers process data and respond to offers to hone your presentation. Examine Web activity reports to spot the day of the week your customers buy from you online most.
Learn as much as you can from every effort you launch, and apply those lessons to each subsequent campaign.
Analyze the Data
You've done your homework, built the perfect plan and pushed a winner. What happens next?
I deal regularly with companies that find themselves so wrapped up in getting the next campaign out that they fail to find out what happened with the last one. The analysis piece or post mortem is critical to understanding what worked and what didn't.
For example: Just because you define a template for your e-mails, doesn't mean you should stop testing new formats against it.
Campaign results are tremendously valuable for crafting subsequent mailings. Open rate, click rates (as a
percent of pushed and opened messages), order rates (as a percent of pushed, opened and clicked), sales and average order value are all important. Knowing how many people clicked through to the site is one thing, but how many bought when they got there?