What's the point?

I spent some time on the phone with a customer today. We rapped about their email marketing program and how Bronto can help. Here's the (paraphrased) exchange:

Customer - For us, it (email marketing) isn't worth it unless we can track email activities back to sales.

Me - Agreed. How do you guys track the sales impact of your email efforts?

Customer - You know. We really don't.

OK - so that is a bit unfair. This customer is actually quite savvy. However, the comment highlights a common problem - that is not seeing the forest for the trees.

So many folks are quite good at executing on their email program, yet they don't put the right processes in place to track the overall purpose of their effort - sales, donations, education, retention, brand value, whatever.  Or they get so used to making newsletters and looking at the reports that the practice becomes a habit and they lose the initial idea in the shuffle.

Case in point, the Bronto Bulletin has been a bit blah of late. Everything seemed to be OK the way I found it, thus I haven't made any striking changes since I took it over. However, the newsletter began to get especially blah when I first started asking customers if they read it, what they think of it, is it useful, etc.

Most reponses have been tepid at best.

If our email communications are supposed to educate our customers and our customers don't react one way or the other when I ask about it, then what's the point?

So - we changed the look, (someone else's seemingly telepathic idea...), changed the subject line structure and are working to change the timing and improve the overall content. We'll see how it pays off...

Ask yourself before you send your next message - "What's the point?" What a great exercise to make sure you have the right impact measurements in place, to filter weak content, and to challenge you to rethink things every once in a while.