Map Out Your Email Marketing Game Plan -- Part Three

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Welcome to the final piece of this 3-part series, your guide to mapping out a successful email marketing game plan. If you haven't read parts one or two, feel free to take a look and get yourself acquainted with the concept of email marketing. Come back here when you're ready.

Take Inventory

At this point, you've built an automated follow-up series and you've found your cadence for sending emails to your audience. You've surveyed your audience (at least once) to ensure your messages are filled with valuable, relevant content. You've also worked with a few different integrations with other services and have executed some split testing.

Most importantly, you've found a way to carve out the right amount of time in your day/week to make the progress and impact with your marketing efforts. The good news is, transitioning to the next step will (should) not take an exponential amount of your time.

That's because all in all, the basics have been conquered and you're now in growth mode. But remember what we mentioned in Part Two, it is about focusing on the quality of your audience and not rushing to meet a specific quantity goal.

So, are you ready to grow your number of valuable customers and subscribers? Some recommendations on achieving "expert" status with your email marketing programs include:

Go Beyond the Basics

Mastering the basics is great. But what's going to grow your audience and expand your success to the next level is continuously testing the waters.

Go beyond basic features. It's time to test features like split testing, scheduling, segmenting and advanced reporting. Already using them? Then it's time to perfect them.

Go beyond basic integrations. By now you're a pro with ecommerce, landing page and sign-up form integrations. Are you ready to aggregate more data points about your audience (purchase history, event interactions, downloads) and integrate with a CRM (customer relationship management) platform? Is it time to streamline your billing process? Your social community? There's an integration for that too. Yes, these integrations may yield incremental costs, but you are at the point where you're measuring and seeing the return on your email program. And they're worthwhile to at least test since you've identified these as integrations that can help move your customers and business forward.

Go beyond basic segmentation. Moving beyond the newsletter message and sending segmented emails to your audience based on their entry point to your database is a perfect segue to connect with your audience based on actions they've taken (purchased e-book A vs. e-book B) and attributes that they match (subscribed for one year, has high engagement with your emails, etc.). These types of segmented emails can only yield significantly stronger results.

Become a Brand, Not Just a Business

You've built a strong following, an engaged audience, and possibly even demand and requests for more. Your email strategies and tactics have gotten you this far. Now's the time to strengthen all these components to help you evolve into a brand, not just a business.

Make sure there is maximum consistency for your users to experience. In addition to using the same logo and color scheme, how about your tone, font and writing style? Becoming a brand means you're providing consistent solutions and experiences based on your customers' wants and needs, regardless of platform.

This also may mean that you've evolved beyond your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Not every brand needs seven social networks, but they do need relevant interactions where their customers are. Let's say your images are yielding a stronger click-through rate in emails. Consider creating an infographic for your Pinterest account. Or, if customers don't have a regular consumption pattern for your content and engage with your YouTube videos, think about launching a Periscope Q&A session (promoting it via email, of course) around a new product launch or simply to provide three tips that came to you that day.

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

With all of these things in place, you now have finally built that revenue-generating machine we talked about in Part 2. Make sure you've partnered with an email marketing service that meets your specific needs for the near and long term. Hopefully this series has also helped you recognize the importance of sending out more than just round-ups of your blog posts or newsletters, and that you've seen the value of automation. Autoresponders are essential to any email marketing game plan.

Once you've recognized and acted on the power of email marketing, others will be coming to you for advice. You may have even started to build an audience of other marketers as they want to pick your brain and hear your thoughts.

I hope this series has been able to provide you with some new ideas, inspirations or catalysts to growing your email program and your expertise. Becoming an expert is an ongoing journey and there will always be something new to learn. Feel free to connect with me if you have questions or ideas to share.