What is my open rate now? What is my CTR now? What are my current engagement rates? How does it compare to last year? Are we above or below industry averages? What is our revenue now compared to last year? The list can go on and on. We are a society who has now been trained to finding out what is happening now and comparing it to the past. We want the information at our fingertips and we ride the information wave as quickly and painlessly as we can. The same goes for email programs. Organizations want revenue now. They want list growth immediately and they want to send as many emails now to their user base for fear that they will miss the opportunity to tell their subscribers their latest and greatest thing.
What about the future? The hardest and most rewarding thing about running an email program is not only planning for the future, but executing on it. Its hard to plan for things 6 or 8 months out when all you are is focused on the here and now, but its essential for your survival. If you are seeing a decrease in engagement rates and increases in your unsubscribe rates, what sorts of things are you planning for and will execute against in order better that situation? Often what happens is that people don’t anticipate major swings in their programs and start to plan and execute on ideas well past the window of opportunity. “We don’t have the bandwidth” or “We have other projects going on” are often the excuses I have heard. Then as the hammer starts to fall, chaos ensues and fingers are pointed.
What I am trying to convey is that email strategy is all about planning 6-12 months out. Its about looking at current trends and anticipating your needs sooner as opposed to later. Prove things via a business case and be tough about what you want, especially if you get initial push back from others. Beat the drum slowly and consistently to do things to protect your organization and enhance your subscribers experience. In addition, I am not talking about the easy stuff here either. I am talking about the hard stuff that people outside the email marketing world think is great in theory, lousy for immediacy but feel that its easy for them to implement type of things.
The future of your email program has already begun people. What are you doing to ensure that what you know is right for the future is getting on the agenda vs. stuff that you know will always be waiting for you?