So you’re current email marketing campaign is up, running, and moving forward at full speed. Customers are responding to your content, conversion rates are through the roof, and life couldn’t be better, right? While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the fruits of your labor in the present, many industry experts – like Erik Harbison of The Huffington Post – warn against resting on your laurels for too long. With this in mind, let’s talk about the finer points of marketing tactic known as “future-proofing.” This way, as your brand outreach capabilities grow and mature, you won’t find yourself constantly wishing for a second chance at missed opportunities.
Is “Future-Proofing” Necessary?
Before going any farther, it’s important to understand why future-proofing is so necessary in today’s marketplace. After all, it’s hard to think of email marketing as being prone to missteps when it stands as one of the hottest commodities on the web. As Clickz’s Jeanne Jennings points out, open rates are indeed at the highest levels we’ve seen since 2007, but there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to the statistics behind the email marketing boom.
Essentially, there’s no way to deny that more customers than ever are opening messages. But what happens afterward – a severe decrease in click-through and click-to-open rates – shows that brands who aren’t thinking ahead are slowly falling behind the curve. Because of this trend, it’s absolutely vital to be one step ahead of your competition in terms of giving the audience what they want.
Ask Questions Now to Build for Later
Now that we’ve shored up the concerns surrounding the need for future-proofing, it’s time to enact Harbison’s first step in the process – asking questions regarding your current operations. Without this foundation guiding the way, it’s virtually impossible to build a plan that spans far into the future of your brand’s inbox endeavors.
Specifically, the questions surrounding how your contact list membership heard about your brand, what – if anything – potentially kept these viewers from signing up to receive marketed messages, and how you could improve the process to serve as a strong starting point. From here, you can naturally refine the conversation and delve deeper into points of interest that your audience members bring to light during the initial discussion.
Take a Step in Their Shoes
While talking to your customers is definitely a step in the right direction, why not go even farther by experiencing the email campaign process from their prospective? By “walking in the shoes” of your audience, your brand can gain valuable insight into the inherent weaknesses and strengths of its current email operations.
It might seem a little bit over the top at first, but embracing the shopper mentality and honestly evaluating each phase of the email marketing experience – from signing up to the weekly routine and tie-ins with other forms of outreach – can truly open your eyes regarding what a list member experiences on a regular basis. Even if the results aren’t always easy to handle, it’s still in your best interests to get this knowledge out in the open so that your brand can rectify the situation and optimize the process for the future.
Think of Your Content as Assets
As the final piece of the future-proofing puzzle, Harbison suggests shifting your mindset when it comes to content. Essentially, most organizations think of these selections, from blog posts to YouTube videos, as replaceable cogs in the greater marketing system. Simply put, this viewpoint is far too shortsighted to be sustainable.
Content is the most valuable asset you have on your side when it comes to email marketing, so treat these offerings with the respect they deserve. Sure, putting in the time and effort to acquire customer testimonials or build a series of user guides and webinars, can be a strain on your work week and budget, but once you have these value-driven offerings on hand, you can always lean on them as needed. The best part about all of this is that taking on this proactive approach helps you fire on all cylinders now and deep into the future. While the competition is left rehashing the same old boring content in their marketed messages, your brand will be exploring new and exciting territory that can truly engage the audience.
As you can see, having the ability to generate an impact now, while also securing your position in the inbox for years to come, truly makes the concept of future-proofing worth the time and effort needed to pull it off – regardless of your current industry standing and prospects.