When tasked with daunting goals, you know that developing a solid strategy ahead of time will help get your team on the right track. As marketers, we tend to think about that sort of strategic planning in terms of quarters.
Most companies' product releases, budgets, and sales targets are tied to quarters – so it's only natural our marketing campaigns would be built around that same time frame. And even if you're on a smaller team that hasn't traditionally planned your email marketing ahead of time, a quarterly check-in is a great way to start approaching your campaigns more strategically.
So as April 1 quickly approaches, here's how to use your data from Q1 to develop a smarter email strategy for Q2.
Step 1: Take a look at your Q1 data
For this part, it’s helpful to have a baseline with which you can compare your current email results.
But even if you don’t have access to that kind of historical data, your team likely had a ballpark estimate of the metrics you intended to hit when you sent each of your emails this quarter, or at least an idea of what typical response results look like for your brand.
If you haven’t already made a habit of recording email performance, gather up all of your campaigns from Q1 and create a spreadsheet containing the following information:
Details of the send
Goal: What did you want to accomplish with this email?
Email send date and time
Subject line and preheader text
Target segment: Who did you send this email to?
Suppression list: Of that segment, who did you purposefully NOT send this email to?
Any relevant design changes
CTA and landing page
Results of the email
Conversions (plug in your own metric based on your campaign goal)
Mobile vs. desktop opens
Percentage of opens across clients
Step 2: What did we do right?
Now, figure out where your team won in Q1:
• Did any of your emails generate unusually high opens and clicks?
• Did any of your emails lead to more conversions than normal?
• In general, did you hit the goals you hoped to achieve with email marketing this quarter?
If you find a positive outlier in the mix (an email or series of emails that did especially well), analyze what might have contributed to its success: Was it a particularly compelling subject line? Did you change anything about your design or CTA placement?
The answers will help you decide which strategies to bring with you into Q2.
Step 3: Where could we improve?
Reexamine the emails that didn’t do as well as you hoped, and consider what might have gone wrong:
• Did you see lower open rates when you sent at a particular time?
• Did a change in template or sender name affect your deliverability?
• Were most of your opens happening on mobile, but your design wasn't responsive?
Then, triage potential flaws within your strategy. If any of the tactics you implemented were clear misses, you can simply avoid using them in the next quarter. But as for the issues that are a little more ambiguous – such as a low open rate with no clear cause – start coming up with ideas for elements you can test in Q2 to see if you can move the needle in the coming months.
Step 4: Plan your Q2 campaigns
Finally, compile your key learnings and strategize ways to apply them to the campaigns you have in mind for the few months.
With great planning and organization – and by going through these simple steps every quarter – you'll notice changes in your audience’s preferences and get a fuller picture of your email results. And by using this data to inform your strategy, you can ensure your team continues to do better and better (and continues to hit those big goals) as the year goes on!
Do you have any go-to methods for planning your email marketing? If you don’t plan on a quarterly basis, how do you manage your campaign planning? Sound off in the comments!
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