In April, I wrote an article titled "Three Ways Email Marketing is Like a Newborn Baby." Three weeks before that article was published, my wife and I had our first baby.
Two weeks ago our little baby girl turned six months old. I thought it was only appropriate to write a follow-up. Here's how email marketing is like a six-month-old baby:
#1: There will be good days and bad days. We consider ourselves to be fairly lucky. Our daughter is a happy baby who really only cries if she is tired or hungry. However, there are still those days (and nights) where it doesn't matter what we try, it's just not working. There is no rhyme or reason to our "failure"; it just is what it is.
This is true with email marketing, too. You can have an email campaign that generates above-industry-average opens, click-throughs, and/or conversions. You are feeling good. Maybe you are doing it all right or have a bit of luck on your side. Then one day, one campaign just does not perform as well as the others. There doesn't seem to be a valid reason for this dip in metrics. Could it be the day of the week you sent your campaign? The time? Did you change the subject line or the "from" name? Maybe you made a human error -- an "email oopsy" - and saw your email performance drop.
It's OK. We are all human. Learn from your mistakes. Look at the data. Do your best to determine what happened and how to prevent it from recurring.
Good days. Bad days.
#2: Try new things. We try new things with our daughter all of the time. This can range from putting her down for a nap before she is fully asleep to attempting to feed her solid foods. Sometimes it works (she falls asleep or swallows the food); other times it's a complete disaster (no nap, or she spits out the food).
Think about your email campaigns. Are you trying new things? Are you testing the various components of your campaign -- from subject line to creative to day or week and time of day? Are you sending emails with a single call-to-action or multiple? What is working? What's not?
I really cannot stress enough the importance of testing. There is no shortage of data in email marketing. Use that data to perform some A|B tests. Keep it simple by testing a few subject lines, or get more advanced by implementing multivariate testing (e.g., a few subject lines, a few creatives). Send out the "winning" email a few hours later based on the metric that is most important to you: opens, click-throughs, conversions, etc.
Try new things.
#3: Have fun! All parents will agree that raising a child is hard work. As mentioned in #1, there are good days and bad; however, it's one of the most amazing experiences in the world. My wife and I are shaping the future for our daughter. Every second is worth it. Even through some of the rough patches, we always have fun.
I say this often: Nobody dies in email marketing. Remember that we are all human. Follow some best practices; challenge others. Think about ways to constantly be improving your email marketing campaigns. But most important, have fun. Smile the next time you hit send or the next time you refresh the page after deploying a campaign.