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Stuck in an Email Marketing Rut?

I was talking with one of iContact’s lead developers last week about the direction our company is taking with regard to new features. And he said something to me, Developer to Product Manager, which really resonated.

“It’s all about asking the right questions.”

Related: See if iContact is answering user questions right in this complete iContact review.

You see, a lot of what Product Managers do is ask questions. Behind all the requirements and methodologies are questions. And if you manage a particular product long enough, you keep asking the same kinds of questions, with little regard to whether or not they’re still the right ones.

I’m guessing there aren’t many PMs reading this post, but the lesson still applies to email marketing managers. If you’ve been in the industry or with the same company long enough, you might have strategized yourself into a routine. That’s what this post aims to correct.

Here are a few tips to set you on the right track and keep you out of an email marketing routine.

Keep a content calendar

Content calendars are great ways to ensure that you’re putting the necessary forethought into your email marketing efforts. Keeping a content calendar also makes you a planner, and being a planner is quite beneficial to email marketing.

Perform a quarterly metric analysis

Some people — the kind of people that use the phrase “Big Data” seriously — can get a little analysis-happy. The pore over every send and scrutinize every metric as it happens. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with this approach, but it can prevent you from seeing the forest for the trees when it comes to your emails’ performance. Taking a look at your quarter’s worth of sends is a great way to pick up on subscriber trends as well as determine how effective certain tactics and messaging were.

Take stock of your vendor BEFORE it’s time to re-up

A lot of marketing departments end up re-contracting with a vendor just because the opportunity cost of not re-contracting — research, sales calls, integration questions, product demos, negotiations — is too high. Those that DO evaluate their vendors often do so right before their contract ends, resulting in a hurried evaluation conducted from the perspective of, “give me a reason to leave” instead of, “convince me to stay.” If your current email service has shortcomings that hinder your efforts, you want to bring it to the vendor’s attention before your negotiation period so they have time and resources to address it.

Use Twitter

The #emailmarketing hashtag on Twitter is full of great advice, articles, resources, and ideas to keep your email marketing efforts on its toes.

Do you have some sage wisdom to pass along to readers? What do you do to make sure your email efforts don’t go stale? Let us know in the comments.

Harry Kaplowitz
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