Setting Objectives for Your E-Mail Marketing Strategy - dummies

Setting Objectives for Your E-Mail Marketing Strategy

By John Arnold

No doubt, the number-one objective of your e-mail marketing strategy is to make money — probably the number-one objective of your business. Making money and saving time are two broad-based objectives for almost every business and organization, and smart strategic planners (that’s you!) use those objectives to refine and devise plans for all aspects of the organization.

Financial objectives for your e-mail marketing campaign

Understanding how e-mail causes your audience to spend money on your products or services is key to defining and achieving your goals. E-mail generates several financial responses:

  • Increase sales: E-mail can lead directly to a sale — a customer clicking a link to buy from your website — and can lead to potential sales as when someone replies with a request for an appointment or additional information.

    Possible stated objectives to increase sales, depending on your business, include:

    • Drive foot traffic to your store. People can use their mobile devices to show the offers or coupons in your e-mails to the salespeople in your store.

    • Bring visitors to your website. People can click links in your e-mail to visit your website, blog, or social media site.

    • Increase event attendance. People can click a link to register for an event online through a registration form.

    • Ask for referrals. People can reply to your e-mail with the name of a good referral or fill out an online form.

    • Generate phone or e-mail orders. People can use their mobile device to tap a phone number in an e-mail and reply to your e-mail with order information.

  • Increase repeat business: Sales increase when you motivate and prompt current customers to make repeat purchases because you can link your audience directly to an online purchase process.

    Ways to state an increase-repeat-business objective (and guides for crafting your e-mail content) include:

    • Stay at the front of your customers’ minds.

    • Attract prospects to convenient purchase links and options.

    • Reward repeat customers with incentives based on repeat sales (free shipping, for example).

  • Shorten a sales cycle: Use e-mail to help shorten your sales cycle by sending prospective customers the following types of information:

    • Information to help justify a decision

    • Reminders to take action

    • Incentives to take immediate action (a limited-time discount, for example)

    Ways to state this objective:

    • Drive prospects to helpful or persuasive information.

    • Provide reminders to act at various sales cycle stages.

    • Announce incentives to reward completed purchases.

  • Lower your costs: E-mail is a cost-effective tool because it’s affordable to deliver and saves on paper, printing, and labor costs.

    To combine objectives to lower your costs and shorten the sales cycle, use one or more of these stated objectives:

    • Automate appointment reminders.

    • Deliver information electronically instead of in print.

    • Use e-mail instead of, or in conjunction with, phone calls, social media, and postal mail for customer follow-up.

Time-based objectives for your e-mail marketing strategy

E-mail marketing can help make the time you spend on your business more efficient. Time-based objectives to consider adopting include:

  • Automate the tasks you can, such as

    • Direct prospects and customers to online information.

    • Use auto responders for some types of follow-up.

    • Schedule several e-mail campaigns to run automatically in advance.

  • Reduce administrative tasks that take you away from selling and interacting with customers and prospects. Some objectives:

    • Include a link in every e-mail to an online form that allows customers and prospects to keep their contact information up to date.

    • Use e-mail templates to save time designing messages.

    • Automate list management and reporting with an E-Mail Marketing Provider.

  • Interact efficiently with customers by balancing personal interaction and electronic communication:

    • Ask customers to use surveys and feedback forms.

    • Use e-mails to confirm purchases.

    • Use e-mail newsletter content to answer common questions.

    • Link customers to online resources for support.