Email Marketing Research
Email marketing research gives the agency valuable insight to help craft an email marketing strategy that capitalizes on past successes, avoids previous missteps, and develops messaging that resonates with the target audience to produce the maximum level of interest and conversions.
The key elements of research include a thorough review of the following.
The agency must have at least a basic understanding of the company's business model, industry, products, services and value proposition. Familiarity with the client's organizational structure, company history and competitors also informs an effective email marketing campaign. One aspect of the client's business, the sales process, is of utmost importance and will be addressed separately.
The Sales Process
A client's sales process is in many ways the centerpiece of email marketing research: To persuade the target audience to take action on a product or service — or even to get it interested enough to learn more — the agency must understand not only how those products and services work, but also why people buy them. Key aspects of the sales process to convey to the agency:
- Major features and benefits
- Important differentiating features and benefits
- Target audience demographics: age, gender, job title, geographic location, education level, etc.
- Major obstacles to making a sale
- Length of the sales cycle
- Stages of the sales cycle
- Major competitors, and their relative strengths and weaknesses
- All sales collateral: brochures, slide presentations, white papers, etc.
Having the client's sales management team, and possibly sales representatives, participate in this aspect of the email marketing research is very helpful. These people are most familiar with not only the behavior of the customer, but also the language of the customer, which must also be incorporated into the content of every email in the campaign.
Our email campaign has been a great success. Patients definitely enjoy hearing about our special offers and new services. Thanks in part to these emails, we’re busier than ever.
Prior Email Campaigns
If your organization has executed email campaigns in the past, a review of their design, content, subject lines, goals and campaign metrics helps the agency understand what works and what does not work for your business and within your industry.
An efficient email marketing agency probes competitor campaigns for strengths and weaknesses, and opportunities for the client to stand out from the crowd. For instance, if every competitor is highlighting feature "A," the client may generate a lot of curiosity by highlighting feature "B." Or, if competitor campaigns fail to incorporate customized imagery into their emails, the client can do so and create a far more powerful and persuasive message than anything the audience has seen.
The success of an email campaign usually boils down to the quality of the mailing list. Does it include current customers, past customers and prospects? Is the list segmented into these segments, or any others such as industry, job title, etc.? Is the list merely a purchased or rented list, with no connection to the company? If a reputable agency determines through research that the list has serious flaws or shortcomings, it will recommend putting in effort and expense to upgrade the list before beginning the email campaign. This, by the way, is one way to distinguish a reputable agency from one that is not: A reputable agency does not let you throw money away by squandering an email marketing budget on a list with little or no chance of conversion.
Never take shortcuts on the email marketing research phase of a campaign. No matter how big or broad your industry, every business is unique in certain ways. Uncovering those unique qualities is the "secret sauce" that makes your campaign stand out from competitors, as well as stand out from the many other emails that flood into every prospect's email inbox.