EMAIL STRATEGY AND EMAIL TACTICS ARE TWO DIFFERENT THINGS.
You will often hear the words strategies and tactics used interchangeably in the email marketing world, but they could not be any further apart.
I have been asked many times to create a “strategy” when in reality, what was being asked for was a list of “tactics” to achieve the goal for many types of marketing campaigns.
As email marketers, we all need to be aligned on what these email marketing strategies and email marketing tactics actually mean and the effect that they will have.
If your long-term vision is to have success with your “strategy” then there needs to be a clear separation between words and the actions taken.
EMAIL MARKETING STRATEGY
The simplest definition of an email strategy is “a plan for reaching a specific goal” for your program. A strategy involves market research, a deeper understanding of the goal, and the ability to evolve the approach based on what is learned. An email marketing strategy can take weeks or even months to evolve into a cohesive framework so that the tactics can then be discussed, planned, and executed upon.
Let’s look at a real-world email strategy example:
A restaurant chain would like to increase the size of its subscriber base by 2,000,000 over the next 12 months. In order to create a strategy for this goal, we need to avoid the “Ready! Fire! Aim!” approach would literally consist of listing out a bunch of things (tactics) that the organization can/should do to capture an email address.
Much of email marketing strategy is relegated to check-box marketing in some form, but in the long run, it will miss the mark when it comes to something as complex as growing the subscriber base.
Sometimes the easy way is not the best way for anyone and formulating a strategy starts by better understanding the goal. To understand, you must ask lots and lots of questions. Here are a few that come to mind:
Here are a few that come to mind:
- Who is our subscriber vs. our customer?
- Who is our ideal subscriber?
- What is our value proposition to offer someone to get them to sign up? (hint: it’s not always a discount)
- How will we test our messaging, and what are the key criteria for success? In other words, what metrics are we using to measure our success?
- What is the ideal CPS (cost per subscriber) we are willing to pay for? (hint: you always get what you pay for)
- Do we have any analysis from our last acquisition programs that can give us insight into things like: sources, attrition rate, success metrics, conversions, etc.
- How many different departments or people will be involved or influence this goal?
- Who is responsible for the messaging/creative for this goal, and how much latitude/influence will the email department have?
- What sort of measurement is in place to track the newest subscribers at the source level?
- Will there be any omni-channel campaigns involved, and if so, is there a cohesive message and measurement of each channel. In other words, what attribution model is being used? (e.g., Last Click, Time Decay, Linear, Position Based or custom)
Once these and other questions are answered, a strategic framework can then be worked on.
The strategic framework will consist of:
- The alignment of internal and external value propositions
- Key objectives
- Test plan
- Strategic email campaigns
- Target audiences
- Prioritized list of tactics
- A few other things.
Remember, the strategy is the plan to reach the goal, and it will contain tactics, but the focus is the plan.
EMAIL MARKETING TACTICS
Tactics are defined as methods, ideas, or things we would do to achieve the goal and align with the strategic framework. I know it is hard to think like this, but the tactics are the LAST thing you do/think about when it comes to the plan. Tactics will likely change throughout the execution of the strategic plan, so people need to agree on the priority and assess as the plan is being carried out.
Let’s be honest; anyone who has been in the email industry for years can haul off and list a bunch of tactics to achieve something and call it a strategy. However, the special ones, the Jedi masters of email strategy, can write a plan and work at the 5,000-foot level rather than just be in the weeds.
There is a huge difference between an email strategist and an email tactician.
STRATEGY AND TACTICS – YOUR MONEY, YOUR CHOICE
Every organization on the planet wants an effective email strategy; few like to pay for it, probably because they view strategy as a list of tactics. Those that understand both values are the strategist and understand that it takes time to produce something worth of value.
You just need to choose what you want.
Email marketers often hear the words strategies and tactics used interchangeably but they could not be any further apart.
As email marketers, we need to all be aligned on what these email marketing strategies and email marketing tactics actually mean and the effect that they will have.
The simplest definition of an email strategy is “a plan for reaching a specific goal” for your program.
Tactics are defined as methods, ideas, or things we would do to achieve the goal and align with the strategic framework.