3 Ways to Optimize your Email Program this Spring

By Cathy Grendus

Published on 3 Apr, 2024

Spring is in the air! The perfect time to take a look at your email programs and get a better understanding of what’s working, what’s not working, and where you might need some support. 

The whole point of spring cleaning is to get into the nooks and crannies that you don’t normally have time to clean; or have quite honestly stopped noticing over time (how long has that cobweb been in the corner of the dining room?). We can apply this same approach to our email programs. 

When was the last time you looked at your email program as a whole? Have you overlooked some areas that may need some attention? What does the email experience look like from a customer perspective?

There’s a lot that can be done (there are so many moving parts when it comes to email) but to get you started, we’ve compiled a list of the top 3 ways that email marketers can spring clean at work.

1. Get in the inbox

You know that stack of papers that has been piling up over months? A mix of opened and unopened bills, a notice from your kid’s classroom about what colored shirt to wear on which day, coupons for fast food inconveniently sent when you just started a new diet. It’s an ongoing influx of messages we’re receiving everyday, but some of it never really gets to us. The same goes for our email messages.

  • When was the last time the team took a look at your deliverability rate AND your delivery rate (yes, they’re different)
  • Your spam rate? 
  • How is your email authenticated? 
  • How are your recipients able to unsubscribe from your email communications?

Reaching the inbox is even more crucial today as Google and Yahoo continue to raise the bar on sender requirements making it even easier for your messages to end up in a spam folder. Top-performing email marketers are actively monitoring and managing their deliverability strategies for their programs and are seeing great results.

It’s also important to remember that while your deliverability might be okay today, it’s essential to continue to actively monitor your deliverability every day to prevent mis-steps that could put you in the red zone. That’s why we have compiled a few tips that will greatly increase your chances of getting into your subscribers’ inboxes – and staying there!

2. Streamline your email process 

So you’ve found some cobwebs and fingerprints on the walls, but your cleaning supplies are spread out across the entire house and the motivation to get started with your spring cleaning lags since the effort to even just gather the tools you need to get the work done feels overwhelming.

Creating an efficient process in email production is just as critical. Does developing and sending a new message to your audience just take too much effort? Do you even know how many steps it takes to get an email deployed? A quick and effective way to reduce stress from your process is to document it. But you shouldn’t just document your processes for the sake of documenting – do it because without fail it will always help to identify some inefficiencies. 

Process mapping is a necessary business practice that does pretty much what the name implies: it maps all of the steps in a process from beginning to end in great detail, using a visualization that can reveal strengths, weaknesses and opportunities within that process.

You can’t optimize what you don’t know or can’t see; the boxes-and-arrows visualization will show you how your email process moves from conception to production to, finally, analysis.  

Ultimately what you are hoping to achieve at this stage of your Spring clean-up is to develop an actionable strategy to streamline operations and uncover process efficiencies.

start with the process3. Assess and prioritize the messages

You are probably feeling better already! If you have implemented the above two steps you are going to notice some new capacity and time to dive into the projects that you have always wanted to do but can never get to – like finally hanging that picture that’s been sitting propped up against the wall for 3 months, or the opportunity to optimize your email messaging & design. 

Gather up all the email messages you send, including newsletter, promotional, and transactional messages; segmented and targeted emails; triggered sequences; one-off emails; and the like. Then, organize them against your purchase funnel. 

You can also review the design overall to ensure that your customers are getting a consistent experience. Many email journeys, triggers & automations are developed over time and are forgotten during rebrands or design updates. If you start to look at the experience from beginning to end, you’ll likely notice considerable variations in the headers and footers, the type of imagery used, consistency in headers and call-to-actions.

If you want to take things a step further and conduct a deep clean of your program, conduct a Journey Mapping exercise to not only document your current journeys, but how your audiences connect across the entire experience. This can highlight which messages you need to update, rewrite or remove entirely. It will also reveal gaps and missed opportunities to engage with your audience, or show that you are flooding them with content unnecessarily.

Bonus step: Testing

We lied, there is a fourth and critical component to finishing up your Spring cleaning project – testing! There’s no analogy here to compare testing to Spring cleaning – it’s just a smart way to ensure your email programs are working at an optimal level. 

Best-in-class email programs are not built overnight, but instead they require a commitment to constant innovation by experimenting, learning and adjusting. Testing ensures that you are taking a data-led approach to optimization; the fastest route to increased engagement and conversions. Think of it as an assurance that your Spring cleaning project was successful.

Make your email program thrive this year

Spring is the perfect time to take action on your email program.  By taking action on these 3 (okay 4) recommended steps to move your email program forward, you will optimize its overall performance.  An optimized and efficient email program will reward you in kind by continuing to unlock the incredible ROI that effective email programs can yield (a potential 36:1 ROI*).

Making the time to assess your deliverability, document your processes, and optimize your messaging will give you a sense of satisfaction and clarity of focus to set your sights on other key priorities.  With the new found confidence that comes from knowing you are getting the most out of your email program, you will notice a recognizable shift  for both you and your email program – from languishing to thriving.

Need support to make this happen?  Talk to Shift Paradigm today.

Written By Cathy Grendus

Cathy Grendus, VP, Marketing Strategy & Planning at SH/FT leads a passionate team of marketing, strategy, and creative professionals. Her extensive 1:1 direct mail, digital and email marketing expertise - working with clients within various industries (including not-for profit, financial services, CPG, energy, grocery, retail, healthcare, and consumer electronics/technologies), and experiences as a Canadian Marketing Association awards judge, has led to her being a well-respected leader in the industry. Through her true understanding of the potential contention of left brain vs. right brain in the world of marketing – and has resolved to merge the two together at every opportunity in order to provide the most optimal results through insights-driven campaigns.
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