How to Steer Away from Email Roadkill: A Five-Point Checkup

It happens more often than we’d like to see: a well-intentioned, well-strategized client email campaign starts out on a clear, straight path, with good definition of goals and strategy, only to hit snags along the road that ultimately render it ineffective and vulnerable to getting squashed in the flood of prospects’ in-boxes.

Here are five potential problem areas we typically address with clients that can impact the life of any email campaign. For the sake of this article, we’ll assume this email campaign is going to an in-house list rather than a rented outside list.

  1. A Listless List. How well do you know your list? Does it have accurate and valuable segmentation data? Let’s face it: managing an in-house list is a challenge. But your email campaign is only going to be as effective as the quality of the data on your list and the ability to segment your list effectively. If your list has potholes, consider taking steps to fill it up and scrub out bad data. This can be done inside or with an outside firm.
  2. Ignoring Incoming Traffic. The more you know about what activities the prospects on your list have already engaged in with your company, the more informed your email can be. The “one to all” way of marketing is a dead end. Not only is it not effective, it can damage your reputation, because it appears you don’t know your prospects and customers as well as you should. Be sure you have a way of identifying the activity of prospects, then send only email to those who not only fit a targeted message by profile, but by recent activity.
  3. Blind Spots on Goals. Of course you have a goal with any email campaign: at some level it is to engage the recipient more with your products or services, whether it be to garner more information, or to cross-sell more products to an existing client base. But sometimes, clients get so focused on their goals, they send out the wrong messages that don’t speak to what the client cares about. Emails that are effective offer thoughtful, well-timed solutions for the problems the recipient is facing.
  4. Mechanical Failures. The best email communications are targeted, have relevant offers, speak to the needs of the reader in a highly segmented way, and have a clear purpose: meaning offer and call to action. If your email lacks these basic elements, all the branding and creative copy in the world won’t make one iota of difference. It’ll still be road kill; it just won’t be as ugly.
  5. Dead Ends. No single email campaign can achieve its goals in a vacuum. A series of communications that are trigger-based will be much more effective that a single shot in the dark. And please don’t make the mistake of letting your sales team decide which leads are worth following up on. If your list is small enough, consider a phone follow-up to everyone on the list, not just to the ones who raised their hands.

Our goal at Nowspeed is to clear the road of email road kill and stop bad campaigns in their tracks before they get squashed by oncoming inbox traffic. Hopefully, addressing these five problem areas will help you better leverage email to be a cost-effective, high impact communications tool that fosters relationships with your clients and customers, rather than damages it.

Feedback? I’d love to hear some.

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