25 Email Marketing Questions to Ask Yourself Now

In my role as a marketing evangelist, I spend much of my time answering questions from email marketers, from the basic -- "What's the average open/click-through rate?" -- to increasingly more important queries, such as "How do we optimize our emails for mobile devices?" However, I'm still not hearing many marketers ask the tough, strategic or root-cause questions that address core business issues, analyze challenges or identify opportunities.

Perhaps marketers just don't know what they should be asking. Here are 25 questions (some with corollaries) that you and your marketing team should be able to answer, immediately or after some analysis or investigation. How many can you and your team answer?

1. Goals: What are our goals, and do we have the right email strategy and programs in place to support them?

2. C-Suite: Do we have senior management and IT buy-in for strategic initiatives? How are we minimizing IT or other departmental or organizational roadblocks?

3. Revenue: Are we leaving money on the table because we haven't implemented key programs?

4. Expansion: Are we missing opportunities to support other parts of the organization and contribute to key corporate goals through email initiatives?

5. Data: Are we capturing and/or integrating the right data to make our marketing programs more relevant and valuable to our customers, using customer behavior, profile data, purchases or recommended SKUs to drive dynamic content?

6. Acquisition: Are we acquiring new subscribers everywhere they are (mobile, social and local)?

7. Multiscreen: Have we optimized our messages to work well across multiple environments: PC, Webmail, smartphones, touchscreens, tablets, etc.?

8. Benchmarking: Is our email program performing as well as or better than our competitors, peers and best-in-class marketers, and are we learning from these marketers?

9. Deliverability: Do we have deliverability issues that are reducing ROI?

10. Segmentation: Do we have the right approach to segmentation or targeting?

11. Automation: Are we leveraging automation as much as we could? For example, are we sending behavior-based triggered emails at smart moments in our customer communication cycles?

12. Partners: Do we have the necessary or right technology, data, creative and consulting vendors/partners or internal resources? Are we taking full advantage of our existing email tool's functions and features?

13. Personnel: Do we have the right team members and expertise, and do we help them stay current on trends and emerging practices by sending them to conferences, having them attend Webinars and sharing industry knowledge?

14. Optimization: Should we continue to focus on tweaking aspects of our program, or should we blow it up?

15. Inactives: Are we dealing with the growing challenge of inactive subscribers, focusing on minimizing inactivity early on rather than reactivating when it is too late?

16. “Mocial”: Are we truly leveraging the power of mobile, local and social and integrating with email?

17. Alignment: Do our programs work in harmony across all of our marketing channels, or are we deploying in silos?

18. Testing: Are we testing everything all the time -- or only when we make the time?

19. Content: Are we incorporating more personality, content and the human element in our emails?

20. Innovation: Are we trying new things and questioning past ways, or is our program on autopilot?

21. KPIs: Are we reporting strategic KPIs to management or are we stuck in the "opens and clicks" rut?

22. Engagement: Are we speaking at our customers -- or with them? How are we using personalization, dynamic content, preference and behavioral data to drive increased engagement?

23. Budget: Are we allocating enough resources and budget to maximize our ROI? Do we have a roadmap for continual advancement over the next one to five years?

24. Compliance: Does our email-marketing program comply with the latest privacy and permission regulations from around the world?

25. Oversight: Do other departments deploy emails that pose risks to our organization, provide a poor customer experience or miss opportunities to raise revenue or reduce costs? Although I've excluded dozens of secondary queries, have I left out any major strategic questions? Please share below in the comments.

Until next time, take it up a notch.

Tags: email
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2 comments about "25 Email Marketing Questions to Ask Yourself Now".
  1. Eve Bould from FreshAddress, Inc. , February 23, 2012 at 12:26 p.m.
    Great questions, Loren. Here’s one more every marketer needs to be answering: Hygiene: Are you cleaning and updating your list on a regular basis to optimize your deliverability and head off blocking and blacklisting issues BEFORE they arise?
  2. Christine de la Garza from Strategic Consultant , February 28, 2012 at 3:26 p.m.
    Love this list Loren! Like yourself, I feel many of my clients are looking to implement 1 or maybe 2 new initiatives (i.e. social) against an existing marketing program that is outdated... with even older consumer insights (or worse, no insights) informing strategy, etc. Sadly, more often than not, I feel I'm delicately leading brandkeepers back to square one and asking them to ask themselves: Why? Which leads me to one key question I'd like to add: Culture: Do we practice what we preach? Are we delivering on our brand promise from the top/down and from the inside/out? If we aren't, Why? If we are and we're not growing, Why? Nurturing and keeping company Culture is a differentiator in the marketplace. Culture can and does drive brand equity and should serve as a touchstone when developing marketing strategies. Just ask Zappos, Apple, Virgin... etc.