WHY are You Sending that Email? Really, Why?

Written by: Chris Donald
Chris is Managing Partner at InboxArmy and has more than 25 years of experience in email marketing

Whenever you get ready to send an email campaign, do you ever ask yourself, “Why am I sending this email?”

You should ask that key question every single time you plan to send a manual campaign or set up an automated campaign.  “Why” is the most important question!

When I ask people why they send some of their email campaigns, whether newsletters, promo emails, triggered messages or others, the answer I get the most is “Because we’ve always sent these.”

Sorry to be blunt, but that’s not a good answer.

This tells me they have not defined their campaign goal. They might have a general idea – to drive more sales, perhaps – but no real plan to be successful. Just send, repeat, and hope for the best.

Knowing your “Why” will lead you to understand all the reasons you have for sending an email: to announce a sale, offer a discount, promote an event, inform or educate, drive or nurture sales leads, and many more.

Define your “Why” and then clearly define your GOAL for that “Why.”  Without a defined goal, you’ll find it hard to measure success.  Have clear KPIs to track, such as revenue, form fills, whitepaper or other collateral downloads win-back opens or clicks, and more.

Knowing your “Why” helps you decide on the other important Ws:

Who? Who will receive your email?  Who is your target, list, segment?

What? What is the message/content/creative/value for your recipients?

When? When will your send your email? Date, time, action trigger?

Where? Where will your email send people who click? To a sale page, product page, download page? Does the landing page continue the email’s message or content?  Is it branded the same?

Too often I see retail emails promote multiple products but send customers to the homepage or a category page. Your customers expect to go directly to the page for the product they clicked on.

What are your goals?

Once you know your Ws, decide on the goals and KPIs to track. Set up a process to review how close you came to hitting them.  If you are testing different aspects of your email (and you should), ask the same questions above for every touchpoint are you testing:

  • Opens
  • Clicks-to-opens rate
  • Conversions or revenue
  • Landing page conversions (form fills, calls, downloads, etc.)

Include the landing-page review as part of the process.  Many email campaigns succeed by one measure (opens or clicks) but fail in the long run because the landing page didn’t continue with the same message or had too many barriers for a successful journey to the goal.

Do you plan to use coupon codes? Use a unique code for each message. Don’t share that code with other channels.  If you promote a discount code on web, social or email, each channel should have its own code to track conversions and attribution.

Design your campaigns with mobile and your audience.

Over 50% of all emails are opened on mobile devices. Ensure they render properly, that links and buttons are “fat-finger friendly.”

If you email to an older audience, consider using larger fonts. Also, avoid light-grey text. It’s difficult to read for those with aging eyesight. Your landing page/site should be mobile friendly as well.

Wrapping up

If you always ask “Why” before sending any email, you will find your planning will change. At the very  least, you’ll know you are planning and targeting properly with clear goals.

Good luck, and may your deliverability be high and your conversions higher!

About Author

Chris sent his first email campaign in 1995. He’s worked directly with Fortune 500 companies, retail giants, nonprofits, SMBs and government agencies in all facets of their email marketing and marketing automation programs. He’s also a BIG baseball fan, loves a good steak, and is mildly obsessed with zombie movies. For more information follow him on linkedin

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