Did you take a gap year with your email marketing program? You’re not alone.
Printing businesses often launch their email marketing with an ambitious schedule and then settle down to a reasonable pace once they see the discipline it requires.
When the program stalls or stops completely, however, that’s bad.
From a marketing perspective, your email marketing program is too valuable to abandon. It’s a company asset that should be be maintained and protected.
Don’t give up on this valuable player in your marketing array!
- Email is a solid, proven communication channel.
- Email marketing is an acceptable way to convey sales and marketing information.
- Email works beautifully in tandem with your print and social media campaigns.
- Email marketing is great for starting conversations and keeping relationships going.
As you revitalize your email marketing program, take time to do it properly. Doing so will build even more ongoing value for your company.
Why do businesses let their email programs lapse?
Unfortunately, the major reason email marketing gets sidelined is that the person running the program is too busy.
In printing companies, the email marketing employee may be from Human Resources or the IT department. More often, it’s a sales or marketing manager (or the owner) who oversees the program or tries to run it entirely alone.
Successful email marketing programs also can be derailed when the key person:
- Leaves the company
- Becomes overwhelmed by data or technology
- Lacks the authority or discipline to enforce deadlines
You can see why it’s important to pick the right person to lead your email marketing program!
Once you have someone motivated and energetic to run your program, here’s how to get the wheels moving again:
> Leave plenty of time.
Logistics take longer than you think. If you change email service providers or have a new person run your program, you’ll need to verify email addresses.
Normally it takes a few minutes to receive a verification email, but it can take much longer if there are security issues with your email address or your website, or any other issues that could expose your email provider to risk.
Give yourself 90 days to relaunch, and be happy if it goes faster.
> Update admin/user credentials and logins.
Use a company email address, not a personal email, to set up the account and administrative privileges. Delete users or former employees who should not have access.
Team members should log in with their own credentials, and here’s my little side story for you.
In my years helping printers with their email marketing, I’ve warned owners and sales managers about ex-employees having access to databases. I have seen sales and email databases accessed just seconds after an employee leaves the company, downloaded presumably to a phone or storage device. It’s a big red flag when a current employee “innocently” downloads a customer or email list to “see how it is done.” For this reason, the primary administrator’s user name and password should never be shared with other users. That goes for your CRM, accounting program, and any other place you store customer data.
Moral of the story: Protect your lists!
> Use online tools to manage the program.
Project management and publishing software — or even a cloud-based collaboration app — will help team members communicate. Such tools improve accuracy, streamline revisions, keep data current, and track the project in real time.
> Check all previous activity.
Look at spam reports from your previous campaigns. If there are reader complaints or alerts from your provider, clean things up before emailing again.
> Back up your data.
If you plan to change email service providers, download your data first. It may seem obvious, but I know people who stopped paying their email provider as a way of shutting down their account, and then realized they hadn’t saved their lists. Oops!
Once you’re up and running again, add your own name (in alias form) to your recipient list. You’ll be able to see if someone else is using your list or selling your data to brokers without your permission.
> Be impeccable and be smart.
Follow email laws for your country and the countries you email into. If you are emailing to many countries, comply with the country that has the most rigorous laws. Get training if you need it. Ignorance is not a defense.
Also, this seems obvious, but do not email to recipients who might hack into your account and send out spam.
> Consider using an outside expert for support.
You can enhance your program by bringing in an independent contractor who specializes in email marketing.
I am a big believer in having your employees take responsibility for the program, while outside experts can provide strategy, training, continuity, and technical support.
If you have an outside person run the entire program, keep tabs on it and follow the same data protections I’ve listed above. The best scenario is having an inside and an outside person work together.
- Your people, reputation and data are company assets.
- Be professional, and put your best foot forward.
- Use modern tools, and follow expert advice.
- Keep rogues and malcontents away from your valuable data.
- Have fun!
Related posts from Sandy Hubbard
For her entire deadline-driven professional career, Sandy Hubbard has produced and published a wide variety of business magazines, B2B newsletters, video programs, and email marketing campaigns. She considers the entire printing world part of her proud print-loving family.