Use the 3 R’s to Improve Your Email Program
Remember the original tenets of education: reading, riting and rithmetic? Long ago, they served as the fundamental structure for an educational framework in this country. Other practices — most notably environmentalism with reduce, reuse, recycle — have adopted their own versions of the 3 R’s. A lesser known, but equally valuable, 3 R’s structure exists for email marketing. It can be employed as an approach for organizing marketing efforts to drive increased program performance. Those 3 R’s? Reach, relevance and rhythm.
1. Reach. Without an audience, an email marketing program is moot. A good email marketing program is always expanding and measuring its audience of quality prospects. It’s always pursuing increased email penetration capture rates within its customer base. In other words, it must be dynamic and evolving in order to stay fresh and expand its reach.
How's that best done, especially for an established program? Conduct a top-to-bottom review of all your prospect and customer touchpoints to optimize file growth. This includes cross-pollination of online marketing tactics, such as mobile marketing and social media, to ensure a broader eCRM approach is taken.
2. Relevance. Relevance is about communicating with an audience in a meaningful way — e.g., one in which a dialogue occurs and recipients engage in a positive way with the message. In general, this “R” is one of the biggest challenges in marketing.
For email marketing, triggered messaging is one of the best approaches to generating relevance. Triggers are most effective when recipients ask for or “pull” a message to them rather than receiving it via a push from the marketer. If you highlight a series of upcoming events in your newsletter, for example, place a “remind me” button beside each that captures a click and build a mini-list for a special reminder campaign to be run later.
Are you listening to what people are saying about you? Monitoring social media content is a great way to help drive relevance. And don’t overlook the search tool on your website; it’s a rich repository of what people are looking for from you. These two data mining tactics can help drive relevant content.
3. Rhythm. Rhythm encompasses the cadence, frequency and sequencing of an email program. Defining the correct rhythm for a program means understanding that frequency and cadence vary depending upon which period of the lifecycle the subscriber is in with you. A new-to-file subscriber with profile characteristics that resemble your most engaged audience, for example, can receive (and should) more emails than other segments of your subscriber base.
Depending on a subscriber’s level of engagement with the email program, the recommended rhythm may also be different. Hyperactive engagers — i.e., those who open, click and convert at the highest rates on your file — warrant a special approach all their own. Monitoring subscriber churn is also an important element in understanding optimal email rhythm. Between declining engagement and increasing churn, those are two clear informational drivers to help optimize the third "R."
Arguably, other “R” words are critical to a successful email program: refine (apply ongoing test learnings to create an ever-evolving program) and render (ensuring the optimal creative design and channel selection are employed) come to mind. However, first focus on reach, relevance and rhythm when establishing the core tenets of a program.