For a basketball fan, the month of March feels a lot like Christmas thanks to the annual event known as March Madness.
Every season colleges and universities from all over the United States battle it out to qualify for one of 65 spots in the biggest tournament in hoops.
Then in only a few weeks, the field is narrowed down to four in a single elimination format that creates an amazing amount of drama and heartbreak.
So what can the NCAA Tournament teach us about email marketing? More than you may think.
Planning an email marketing campaign it is a lot like what a coaching staff does when devising a game strategy heading into an important game. The goal, just like in email marketing, is to keep ahead of the competition and produce as many wins or successful campaigns as possible.
Because we are so crazy for basketball this time of year, we want to give you some quick game plans to get your campaigns in top shape for a big tournament run.
Before your next email marketing campaign hits the court, let us take a look at some aspects of your game that could be improved to better your performance and make you a winner in the Big Dance of email marketing.
Scout out your competition
This is a must in all aspects of sports or business. Those who spend the most time scouting and breaking down the next opponent will have the best advantage. In terms of email marketing, think of this as researching the email activity of other organizations in your industry.
You might find that some may not be sending email at all, giving you a significant upper hand. If they do have an email marketing program, what are they doing well that you could incorporate into your game plan?
Also take a look at what aspects of their game need work that you could capitalize on. Exploiting an opponent's weakness is always an important factor when trying to advance in the NCAA Tournament.
The same goes for email marketing. Make sure you're offering a better value, and make sure you're clearly communicating that value to your customers.
Test a new play every game
Just because a game plan or diagrammed play worked last month against a certain team, it does not mean it is perfect. The same goes for your email marketing campaigns.
Keep your strategy fresh by testing a different element of your message. It could be the subject line, landing page, the offer, call to action, length of copy or image-only design vs. embedding images.
To remain on top a college team will always try to dictate their style or pace and keep the other team on their toes.
If you see a style working for another company, don't assume it will work for your business. Some teams or companies have special talents or unique products that allow them to do what they do.
Test it yourself to be sure your recipients will respond in a similar way.
A good habit to get into is testing at least one element with every new message you send. This not only keeps your campaigns fresh but it will keep the interest of your subscribers
If that process sounds harder than upsetting the No.1 team in your bracket, start small and commit to practicing this technique at least once a month. Once you are in firmly in the habit of testing new elements of your campaign, then you increase your frequency.
Keep out of foul trouble
To stay in the game and have a chance at winning, you have to play by the rules.
CAN-SPAM violations, which include not having a working opt-out mechanism or physical postal address in your email, can get you a seat on the bench, fined, or potentially thrown out the game entirely. Double check to make sure recipients have stated they would welcome email from your organization and take steps to ensure you don't wear out that welcome. By continuing to send out relevant content and keeping a close eye on your frequency of sending, the chances of fouling out decrease dramatically.Practice, Practice, Practice
Any basketball coach will tell you that practice makes perfect and the more you work on your game, the better it will get. But don't be afraid to try new things with your email marketing campaigns. If it does not work in the end, you can remove it from the playbook and try something else.
The final buzzer
Every NCAA Tournament concludes with one champion cutting down the nets and celebrating a big win.
By incorporating the above strategies into your email marketing game plan, your email efforts will start to score more often with recipients. That will lead to more campaign victories and before you know it, your business will be celebrating it's own championship.
For more information or tips on taking your email marketing game to the next level, check out SimplyCast's articles and resources page.