Crush Your Post-Summer Marketing Push

It’s tough to believe Memorial Day has come and gone. And, in just a few weeks, we’ll be at day 182 of the year -- halfway through 2014 already! That’s only another month away from August and the ramp up to back-to-school and holiday seasons. Yes, time is flying fast, and the best marketing brains in the business may be getting distracted with visions of summer fun right about now.

So, before you kick up your heels in a hammock and bust out your best summer barbeque recipes, double-check your marketing plan and ask yourself: Are we ready to maximize our plans during the post-summer marketing push?

If the answer is an absolute yes, go directly to the beach or pool. If, however, you have any questions related to optimizing your programs for the busy season, read on.

Now is the time to capitalize on the summer months to test, learn and apply your insights to program optimization and innovation. Testing is the only way to identify and gain insight into program performance levels and opportunities to drive better email and cross-channel return.

Keep in mind; testing can be applied to established, high-volume campaigns to cultivate even stronger returns during busy season. In fact, reevaluating established programs helps keep them in tune with ever-changing consumer expectations and competitive factors. Think about the existing lifecycle marketing programs, such as your Welcome, Browse and Cart Abandon programs. In the busy seasons, you’ll be fueling these campaigns with loads of new subscribers, the prime time to reap benefit from performance improvements.

To get your optimization process going, here are some potential test elements that range from the tried-and-true to the innovative:

  • Subject line and From line inbox experience
  • Format of message
  • Video content
  • Navigation bars
  • Pre-headers
  • Social integration via links, sharing functionality or social graph elements
  • Message timing
  • Calls-to-action and offers
  • Layout/ location
  • Design elements, such as font, color and more
  • Sequence of messaging
  • Data gathering via progressive profiling
  • Personalization
  • Integration with other channels, such as display retargeting, social or mobile

Now that you’re armed with plenty of optimization ideas, here are seven steps to develop a successful test:

1.     Review existing and new programs to identify key test opportunities.

2.     Prioritize a few clear, concise tests to build a test plan on, specifying the objective, strategy, tactics, timing and other plan elements.

3.     Identify the key question the test will answer and come up with a hypothesis about the anticipated impact.

4.     Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to benchmark and measure the impact.

5.     Create test segmentation and other key test elements (creative, dynamic content, subject lines, landing pages, etc.) and deploy the test. Be sure to look at test volume and timing to ensure the test is statistically accurate

6.     Measure test results and document key learning and insight.

7.     Optimize and innovate during Q3 – Q4 2014 based on test results. Bonus step: use the lessons as input to 2015 marketing planning.

It’s now or never! Get going today with a cycle of testing, learning and optimization that will boost your program performance for the busy seasons. And, while the tests are running, put on your flip-flops and take some time to enjoy some lemonade and good times in the sun!

Tags: email
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