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Time to Plan for Your 2008 Email Success

Oct 31, 2007
October is generally the time I like to get ready for the next year. And in order to plan for 2008, it's imperative to evaluate 2007. Here is the straightforward assessment I use to critique my email marketing campaign for the year. I suggest you apply this evaluation to your own campaign as you put your 2008 email marketing plan together. Simply ask yourself the following questions:

1. What was the overall goal of my email marketing campaign? Was I trying to generate more leads, make more sales, increase brand awareness? What specific numbers was I trying to reach and did I attain the numbers I wanted? (For instance, if your goal was lead generation, exactly how many leads were you aiming for and how many leads did you actually acquire?)

2. If I did not achieve my overall goal, can I pinpoint the trouble areas? Are my open rates below industry standards? Are my clickthroughs lower than expected? What can be done to improve my email messages on an individual basis? (If you don't analyze your email messages on an individual basis, you should definitely plan to do that in 2008.)

3. What techniques did I use to grow my list and which of these techniques were most successful? Which were most time consuming? Which were least effective? Which techniques do I plan to repeat and which will I drop from my repertoire? (Remember the 80/20 rule. Don't waste your time on ineffective list-growth programs.)

4. How have I segmented my list and how have I taken advantage of these individual segments? How can my list be further segmented and what can be done to increase relevance and personalization? (As in-box clutter becomes even more serious, segmentation, relevance and personalization will be keys to effective email campaigns in 2008.)

5. How often did I send useful, content-driven messages? What was my planned publication schedule and was I able to maintain this schedule? Did I send too often? Not often enough? Do I plan to continue this same schedule in 2008?

6. Which of my email campaigns got the best results? Which received the worst results? What can I attribute this to? Subject line? Content? Personalization? How do I plan to improve my results in 2008?

7. What were my delivery rates for 2007? How do these rates compare to industry standards? Where do the problems with my delivery occur? Technical issues? Hard bounces? Soft bounces? Spam rejections? What are my plans for increasing delivery in 2008?

8. Have I maintained CAN-Spam compliance throughout my email marketing program? How do I handle unsubscribe requests? Is my list double opt-in? Do I include my mailing address in all of my messages? Have I ensured my SPF record is up to date? (If you're not familiar with maintaining CAN-Spam compliance, request a copy of my free CAN-Spam checklist.)

By reviewing the best and the worst of your 2007 email marketing program, you'll be better equipped to plan an amazing campaign for 2008.
About the Author
Karen Scharf offers several whitepapers, free reports and checklists, including her FREE Can-Spam checklist and FREE email pre-flight checklist to ensure your emails get delivered, get opened and get read. Download your copies at http://www.ModernImage.com.
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