March and basketball go together like spaghetti and meatballs. You don’t often think of one without the other. With all the coverage of the basketball games, and all the office brackets, people’s minds are on basketball. Basketball is more similar to email marketing than one would think. In basketball you have to plan, practice, modify that plan if need be, focus on the goal and learn from your successes and failures. Here are some things you can take from basketball and apply to your email marketing.
1. Strategize: No team ever won with out a plan in place and a playbook full of strategies, shots and routes. Similarly, email campaigns are not successful if you don’t have a plan in place. You need a playbook filled with the elements of your strategy: layout, colors, content, links, design, subject lines, time management, relevancy and analytics. Use what you know and make a plan.
2. Practice makes perfect. No team ever won without practicing the plays and shots in the playbook either. In email marketing, “practice” would consist of testing your “plays”. Just as it is important to practice that 3 pointer, it is important to test your email messages for success. Getting a good ROI is like keeping a high score on the board.
3. Plan, but don’t be afraid to switch it up if it stops working. You may have the tested the strategy and it worked well for a while but now your click-throughs and response rates are dropping. It is time to change your strategy. Take some other plays from the book and see if it helps keep your score up. Analyze the situation on the floor and adapt your plans accordingly.
4. Keep your eye on the prize. In order to be successful, you have to have a way to measure your success. Set a goal and try to reach it. Always focus on what the ultimate plan is and why you are doing what your doing.
5. If you win or lose, learn from it and move on. Some times your strategies just don’t work and you come up short. There is no use crying about it, you need to take a good look at the game film and see what you can fix for next time. Examine your analytics and rates and see what really worked and where you may have gone wrong. Alternately, if you win big don’t assume you can do the same thing next time; each email marketing campaign is a totally new game and new opponent.
Whether you are on a court or in an office, it is important to remember to strategize, test and practice, modify on the fly, focus and learn from your outcomes.