We are living in an era of disruption and innovation. Though these phrases sound abstract, organizations need to make solid plans for innovation and construct an environment where creative ideas can thrive. This is especially important when trying to inspire teams to innovate around tried and true marketing channels like email. How can email marketers cultivate an environment that fosters more imaginative testing? Consider these tips:
- Bring in people from across your organization for a safe testing environment. This not only creates an interesting way to think about how to better improve email strategy across campaigns, but also fosters a spirit of inclusion that can better facilitate buy-in for the more radical ideas that may come about. Having an organization that is willing to try new ideas is a key driver. These new ideas come to life when groups from marketing, finance, technology and creative, join forces.
- Start small. Epsilon’s Agility Harmony has a lot of different ways to work on inventive testing. Start small with efficient ways to test email subject lines and content in the platform. Then take innovation a outside of your email platform. Try testing out additional creative or an omnichannel approach (including email, SMS, and push). Frequency and cadence of communications should also be tested to determine the optimal send volume for your customers.
- Understand how to encourage disruptive strategies. Our brains are so overloaded that we often don't have enough time to think and generate new ideas. The beauty of marketing automation and machine learning coming together is that it should free up more time for marketers to be creative. In order to truly design and test creative campaigns that are out of the box, we need to dedicate time to doing so. When kicking off email programs make sure to spend time at the beginning focusing on the creative component.
While terms like “innovation” and “creativity” may sound strictly rooted in elements like images and copy, acting on these themes goes beyond that. For example, Aspen Dental has steadily evolved their communications to patients. The dental provider has spent years testing communication patterns and has developed pre- and post- appointment lifecycle campaigns, which leverage both email and SMS communications. These patient lifecycle sequences include touchpoints ranging from appointment setup verifications, to appointment reminders, requesting patients to confirm appointments, and extend to post appointment follow ups.
Much of the testing Aspen Dental does revolves around cadence and methodology, such as continually testing many different iterations of campaign lifecycle flows to determine what works best for their patients. For example, they were originally sending out day of appointment reminders via SMS messages at the same time across all US time zones. After careful thought and thorough testing, they found better results by sending the day of appointment confirmations based on respective time zones and adjusted the campaign accordingly.
Innovation is a marathon, not a sprint. With the fast-paced nature of marketing and technology, marketers need to dedicate time to be innovative and creative. Email campaigns will naturally become more engaging and will drive brand loyalty.