Chances are your office is never full during the summer months. People usually start to take vacation towards the end of June and this can continue haphazardly right through until August. But what most people miss is the opportunity that lies within these sleepy three months. The summer is actually a fantastic time to revisit your email strategy, fine-tune and tweak efforts to get you above and beyond your third quarter goals.
1. Things move slower in the summer and you will likely have the time
Chances are the office is never full during the summer months. People will usually start to take vacation towards the end of June and this can continue haphazardly right through until August. This pattern is reflected in our clients’ and customers’ companies too.
A fair assumption then is that with less clients and customers at work, less work is passed on to us and we find ourselves enjoying a little golden period of the year when we can relax just a little more than usual. However, this is also a time that can be used to your advantage.
With a little less on your to-do list, use this period to revisit your email strategy on a regular basis. This doesn’t mean you need to dedicate a full week to meetings, briefings and strategy sessions – after all, this is a ‘review’ not a ‘redirection’. It simply means that you should take the time to look over the most recent strategy that was set and evaluate whether current efforts are matching the goals and benchmarks that were previously set.
2. Set benchmarks for the second half of the year
If you use the sleepy summer period to take a quick review of your current email strategy, you’ll find a natural progression is to identify where the gaps are and incorporate them into benchmarks and goals that you’ve already set. I recently did this for our mailing campaigns here at Ungapped.
Over the period of a week, I spent about an hour each day reviewing a selected few of our mailing campaigns (mostly related to this blog). I took a look at our goals and benchmarks and evaluated whether our current efforts were on track to match that. Noticing a few gaps, I tweaked some of our strategy in order to reach our goals before and during the third quarter.
Through the process of adjusting our current benchmarks, it also gave me the opportunity to start thinking about campaigns that will run in the fall and in the lead up to the holiday season. Now I know you’re probably thinking, “The holiday season is months away! Why would I even start thinking about that?”
Well, if we exclude the summer period (now until the end of August) and assume that business resumes to normal around the 1st of September, then we only have around 100 shopping days until Christmas. That gives us even less than 100 days to strategize, produce and disseminate mailing campaigns that will get us to (and hopefully beyond) our 2015 sales and revenue goals. It’s not really that far away is it? So use this summertime wisely and get ahead by setting those third and final quarter goals.
3. Review your ROI and change email provider or platform if necessary
If you’ve come this far after taking a brief look at your email strategy over the summer and readjusted those benchmarks and goals only to realize that there is still a huge gap in performance that you simply won’t recover from, it might be the time to start thinking about changing email service provider.
To determine whether you’re getting real value from your current provider, take a look at how much you currently pay for the platform or service versus the total value of new customers you have obtained since using this provider PLUS the total value of loyal / returning customers since using this provider.
If the cost is lower than the revenue you’re bringing in from new sales and returning customers, you should be in the safe zone. However, if the cost is disproportionately high or exceeds the revenue then it’s probably wise to review whether your current service provider or platform is worth using.
If you are considering swapping email provider, use the summer period to shop around. Shortlisting a few email providers or platforms before the end of the summer will also give you or your team manager a chance to review contract opt-outs and plan ahead should you be locked in until the end of the year.
Looking for a new email marketing solution? Check out our pricing plans and packages here.
4. Research the competition’s email strategy
With a bit more time to whittle down that to-do list, the summertime is also a great time to take a look at what the competition are doing in terms of an email strategy.
Consider signing up to a few of your competitor’s mailing lists (use a personal email if using a company email is not an option) and keep and eye on what comes through to your inbox. Look out for whether their mailings are responsive across devices and what kind of content they are pushing.
I know fully well that trying to remain bipartisan is hard when looking at the competition but try to give credit where it’s due. If a competitor is running a great mailing campaign make a note of it and share it with team members when you’re strategizing your next campaign.
5. Delegate more efficiently to your staff and team members
Even if you think your team is running smoothly there is always ways to improve effectiveness and efficiency.
After revisiting your email strategy, reflect on how well tasks were managed through the team. Were there elements that always took longer than expected? Were there elements that were always completed really quickly? Were some team members better at tasks than others or was the opposite true? As well, what was the reporting process like? Were you able to report how much value your email marketing campaigns contributed to new or reoccurring sales?
If you cannot confidently provide an answer to these questions, take some time during the summer season to think about how tasks can be better managed in your team once vacation is over. It’s a great opportunity to consider reshuffling tasks in order to maximize our efficiency before the third and final quarters.
6. Adjust resource allocations to enable smoother roll-out of your email strategy
Another valuable opportunity that lies with reviewing your email strategy during the summer is being able to adjust resource allocations. This could be anything from people to time to social media advertising budget.
Evaluating whether your current efforts are on track to make benchmarks and goals will allow you to identify where the gaps are, and consequently, where more resources are needed. For example, if in your email strategy you find you’re simply not sending enough mailings you might need to allocate more time, more people-power (or both) in order to reach those goals.
Likewise, if you can see a slowed growth in your social followers it might be time to consider allocating a budget towards social media advertising. Doing so might result in getting more followers than the number of your people clicking through in your mailing.
Start reviewing your email strategy now and get ahead before the summer is over
Like I mentioned earlier in the post, reviewing your email strategy during the summer doesn’t have to be a mammoth task. By taking a few hours here and there in a more relaxed working period, you will have the opportunity to fine-tune and tweak your current email marketing efforts so that you can bring your brand above and beyond those third quarter goals.