Summer Fitness Guide: 6 Tips to Shape Up Your Email Marketing

By EJ McGowan, General Manager of Campaigner

Summer is finally here and, like those working on their summer fitness, it's time for marketers to re-examine email regimens and tighten up routines.

Traditionally filled with long trips and time off, summer brings unique challenges for marketers to break through the "off" season and reach their intended targets. With many consumers hitting the road or relaxing on the beach, marketers must fight for mobile attention and break through overflowing inboxes.

Though this season may deliver a few extra challenges for email marketers, it also provides a great opportunity to try something new and get a brand's email campaigns into better shape. With the right preparation and plan of attack, summer revenue can be better than ever. Here are six key best practices that any marketer can leverage to ensure summertime success.

1. Map Out Email Fitness Goals

Just like with any well thought-out fitness plan, it's critical to set email marketing goals before getting started. Marketers need to think about what they are trying to achieve and determine a specific objective for each campaign. However, they need to be careful not to take on more than they can handle. It's essential to be realistic, so marketers should aim for 1-3 specific goals to focus on this summer.

3 Goals for Summer Email Campaigns

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2. Get Everyone Involved

The reason why fitness buddies and weight loss groups work is because there's a certain level of accountability, not to mention competition. To ensure everyone is staying on track, brands should consider coordinating with other departments to create the most comprehensive plan possible. For example, if a company is planning an email campaign that references a new landing page on its website, the email marketer will want to ensure that all links and related content are working properly, which could require some coordinating with the design team. This will guarantee that all marketing components such as email campaigns, social posts, website updates, new product or service offerings, etc., are aligned for an all-inclusive strategy, rather than a stand-alone email blast. Additionally, by getting everyone involved, the better chance off-time can be coordinated internally during the summer months.

3. Avoid Fatigue: Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Once goals are set and team members are on board, then the heavy lifting begins. Marketers will want to plan strategically about how they're going to accomplish their goals in a timeframe that works for them. Think about it this way: Someone who isn't a seasoned runner wouldn't push himself to run a marathon his first time out. Likewise, marketers shouldn't take on more than their time will allow. This could mean that marketers consider sending out emails in segmented batches to achieve their goals. Otherwise, they risk burning out their list or generating more leads than the company's sales team can handle.

By strategically segmenting a contact list in tiered groupings for priority distribution, marketers can generate the right leads in quantities that their teams can manage.

4. Trim Down the Fat on a Contact List

Streamlining a contact list is essential for email marketing success. This summer, marketers must take the time to ensure they're only sending to active users and not wasting resources on spam or false accounts. Of course this is different for every enterprise, but marketers can do so by scanning lists for addresses that clearly aren't individuals, such as support@ or info@ emails. It's important to remember that although these contacts might not bounce back as invalid, they may not be the users a company wants to target, as non-personal addresses won't improve a brand's deliverability score or generate the ROI required for profitability. They're essentially empty calories, so why waste the time? Once unnecessary contacts are identified, marketers will want to get rid of the extra baggage. By removing them from all available lists, companies will have a toned strategy they can be proud of.

5. Target Problem Areas

Just as beach season motivates people to rebuild long-forgotten muscles, it's also a great time to revisit one's approach to disengaged users. Companies should consider executing a revival campaign to re-engage inactive contacts and salvage previously positive relationships. Start by targeting non-openers and non-clickers and reach out with something of value to stimulate activity. Also note that a valuable offer desn't have to be a sale or promotion. Brands should use this opportunity to offer informational content or other resources that their contacts might find helpful.

Before distributing a campaign, companies will need to analyze all available data and identify contacts that have long trends of non-activity. This will reveal the users that a company is at the biggest risk of losing, giving it a chance to reignite lackluster relationships and wrangle in potentially loyal customers.

6. Diversify Routine

Having the same routine every day at the gym can result in static results and bad habits. Similarly, it can be useful to periodically re-examine an email regimen and change it up when necessary. Likewise, it's important to revisit automated workflows and autoresponders to make sure they're working properly. Marketers will want to double check to ensure autoresponders are not continuing to run after the call-to-action has been completed by their contacts. For example, if the objective is for subscribers to follow a brand on Twitter or visit its website, marketers need to make sure their workflow ends once the subscribers have done so. Not doing this can result in spamming contacts, as well as a loss of goodwill and potentially valuable customers.

Summer is the perfect time to dig into the email marketing features marketers have available and optimize them for a successful season. Although they should be working hard to break through summertime challenges, marketers shouldn't overwhelm themselves. Realistic goals are the ones that get results - in any season.

EJ McGowan, general manager of Campaigner, has more than 25 years' experience in the software industry with expertise in building highly available, scalable SaaS-based solutions.