9 Ways to Improve Any Email Marketing Program, Regardless of Budget or Bodies

 happy businessman got his email marketing best practices togetherDavid Baker filled a post with a lot of email marketing statistics a couple of months ago. It was the day after the Super Bowl and of course stats are heavy on everyone’s mind during a big football game like that. So a post full of email statistics was apropos. But there was one stat in there that I can’t stop thinking about more than 2 months later:

  • “Nearly 2/3 of companies rate their company email as poor or average, and less than 4% rate it as excellent.”

And then there is the irony of the statistic that immediately followed it:

  • “Only 8% of companies or agencies say they have a dedicated email marketing team. Most rely on a cross-functional team with other responsibilities.”

Later in the post, Baker says email gets less than 5% of the marketing budget on average. Yet, he also says 55% of companies attribute over 10% of their revenue to email and 8% claim over 50%.

Do you see the irony here? Businesses are making money from email (sometimes a lot of money), with poor programs, little staff and even less budget. And they are settling for this, admitting that their email marketing is average or even poor.

There are two consequences to this: First, these businesses are not generating the kind of ROI that they could be. Secondly, and maybe even more importantly, these businesses are short changing consumers by doing a crappy job with email.

Why settle for a poor or average email marketing program? Even if you don’t have a dedicated email marketing team, as 92% of companies and agencies don’t (according to these stats), that doesn’t mean you are stuck with sub par email marketing. (And your customers shouldn’t be stuck with it either.)

What if, instead of settling, these businesses strived for a good or even a great email marketing program? They wouldn’t necessarily have to have bigger staffs or budgets to pull this off. There are a few key ingredients they could put into place, some of which take only a little extra effort and not a lot of budget or no budget at all. They include:

  1. Build your list based on quality, not quantity.
  2. Send on a regular schedule, not so frequently that you’re annoying but not so infrequently that you’re forgettable.
  3. Always be testing something. An A/B split test of your subject line is an easy and good place to start.
  4. Create awesome content that is at least sometimes customer-centric.
  5. Keep your emails short, sweet and to the point with a clear call to action.
  6. Design your emails for mobile.
  7. Segment your lists.
  8. Use automated and triggered emails.
  9. Pay attention to your email analytics.

(This last one is key because if you don’t know what is working—or pissing people off—how can you possibly know how to improve?)

Obviously companies are making money with email marketing, as the statistics show. But they’re settling. If they were to improve their email marketing programs even just a little, they’d make more money and consumers would be more receptive and satisfied. To move up the scale from poor to average, or from average to good, wouldn’t take that much budget or that many bodies, just some best practices put into place.

So how about it?