If you’ve been creating and managing email marketing campaigns for a while you may have experienced a repetitive, typical and established pattern of strategies. You are also probably used to marketers obsessing over “subject lines,” “creatives” and “images” as if they were all that email marketing is about.
So after years of testing “subject lines,” “creatives” and “images” to get better “subject lines,” “creatives” and “images” what’s there left to do?
If you, just like me at times, find yourself in this predicament, you may be what I call the “bored email marketer.”
Here are three techniques I find useful in helping me do away with marketing boredom.
1. Forget about “creatives” and “images.”
Take a good look at what you’re looking to accomplish and work backward to map the path that will get you there. More often than not your solution will be found in communication concepts which then can be reflected through creative and images.
There are some concepts that are overused as well. Most folks tend to use the concept of “convenience” to drive website usage. “Do this online because it’s convenient” is one of the most over-used, boring and indirect attempts at driving website traffic.
Websites are convenient, it’s true. But today the convenience of online servicing, or ecommerce is an expected, given benefit, not an added bonus. Businesses are expected to sell, service and communicate with their consumers online, just as they’re expected to have a phone number. So trying to sell a website by touting its convenience is a bit like trying to sell sugar by marketing it as sweet.
What the bored marketer should do is break the concept into it’s component parts and ask, “what of my business and website service would represent convenience to my customer?”
Last year, during a time when I was the bored email marketer I asked myself this question. Convenience to my customer meant getting quick, easy, timely information about activity on his online account. I developed a campaign that was nicknamed “message in a bottle” because of the image of a printed email in a corked bottle that had drifted on a beach. The text on the image said, “We have better ways to keep you informed,” and the call in the email was “stay informed with email alerts.” It turned out to be our most successful email campaign in 2008.
2. When you run out of concepts to test, redevelop and retest concepts from a year ago.
A few years back we tested if “going green” was a stronger driver for web usage than “de-clutter your life.” “Going green” failed the test. A year later, we re-tested the same two against each other and this time “going green” won.
What we learned here is that trends can change very fast, and we have to change with them, even if it means going back to an old concept. It may be old to us, but new to our customers.
3. Do the exact opposite of what you’ve been doing.
When you can’t move the needle enough with new tests it may be time to throw in the test mix something that’s the complete opposite of what you’ve been doing so far. If you’ve been testing images without much gain, throw in a no-image market-cell. If most of your emails have been short, try testing against a long email. If your communication language has been formal, test against informal copy.
I’m not advising here doing away with tactics that have been consistently proven, nor am I advising throwing away common sense. What I’m advocating is challenging ourselves to break away from patters that we may be blind to because we’ve been supporting these patters for too long.
Doing the opposite of what you’ve been doing may not prove the success you were looking for each time, but it will open up new perspectives, trigger new ideas, freshen up your strategy and stop you from becoming the bored email marketer.