The terms ‘aim' and ‘objective' are often used interchangeably. However, they are not the same. Aims are an overarching end goal (and are usually specific). Objectives are steps along the road to that goal (and can be a bit more flexible). Aims are long-term outcomes, while objectives are short-term targets. Different objectives work towards different purposes. For example:
Will people understand what you’re trying to say? It’s usually better to avoid topics (or opinions) that are complex if many people are extremely passionate about them. For example, sharing almost any opinion about immigration policy is usually a bad move, unless your audience is unusually homogenous. You could agree 99% with someone and still piss them off by using the wrong term just because they have such a strong “either you agree 100% with us, or you’re our enemy” mentality. I once pointed out that I think it’s unacceptable to capture and torture people for years—especially if they aren’t charged with any crime, there’s no evidence they’ve done anything wrong, and they’re children. I got several emails back from people saying, “you have no idea what you’re talking about” or “you should stick to marketing and leave politics to people who understand it.” They took it as commentary on geo-politics. I just said I’m not okay with pointless torture of children. I thought we’d all agree on that.
What does your current email marketing performance look like? Analyse the performance of key metrics such as Open Rate, Click-through-Rate (CTR), Deliverability Rate, Unsubscribe Rate, ROI. What is working well and what isn’t. This can also be internally focused – for example, maybe it is taking a long time to create email content, or the creation process is inefficient.
The takeaway here is that if you are to use personalization as an email strategy, do so in a meaningful way. It takes little knowledge or relationship to place someone’s name in your greeting. It shows far greater care to send personalized email that is specific to a recipient’s needs and history. Again, an example from my inbox, this email from Rdio dispenses with the formalities and simply provides an update on music I actually listen to.
Providing traffic that converts is my top priority. My agency has survived in today’s competitive environment only because my team delivers what the client wants. I promise that you get subscribers; otherwise, you’ll get a new solo ad for free. You will get leads who are interested in your services. That’s the primary goal of solo ads, and that’s what I provide at the most affordable prices.
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The ideal type of opinion (unrelated to your expertise) is one that doesn’t offend anyone, but makes some people relate to you more. For example, I’m a vegetarian. I used to protest whenever there wasn’t a big piece of meat on my plate. But when I tried eating just veggies for a couple of months, I realized I felt a lot more energetic. Sure, it’s more ecological. And often animals are treated cruelly. But those aren’t the things I emphasize if someone asks why I’m a vegetarian. No one in their right mind has a strong negative reaction to someone eating food that makes them feel energetic, right? But for some vegetarians it’s a very meaningful choice, so it might have a positive impact on those people. That said, I highly doubt that my choice of diet have any direct impact on my sales.
Test. Different email clients and mobile devices display emails differently. Send test emails to colleagues, or use a testing program to make sure your emails are going to look good on screens big and small. Testing reveals design mistakes before it's too late, and testing programs can predict whether or not a campaign will get caught in a spam filter. You could even set up accounts with a few different email services for easy testing. Avoid sending one big image as a campaign, and cover your bases with a plain-text option for every email.
When you're using email as a marketing tool, you're working on a pretty personal basis. This isn't ‘drive-by' stuff -you're directly targeting customers from their inboxes. There's a huge amount of potential which comes with this kind of marketing... but you'll only reap that potential if you REALLY understand both the marketplace you're operating from, and the audience you're talking to.