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Whether you are jumping into your first promotional email campaign or are a long-time veteran of email marketing strategy, there are factors you have to consider every time you begin planning a new email campaign.

Ignore one of these factors and you’re likely missing out on customers, conversions, and revenue. That would be a shame, since — done well — email marketing has the highest ROI of any digital marketing channel. Before diving into your next promotional campaign, make sure you’ve closely examined each of the following.

Warning: This blog will leave you with more questions than answers. And that’s perfect. Because you’ll be asking the right questions.

1.  Who is your audience?

Developing promotional campaigns that drive ROI requires knowing your audience beyond vague demographic personas. That’s a good place to start, but the factors that really influence the success of an email campaign are less cut-and-dried.

They involve answers to questions such as: When do my customers want to hear from me? What content and messaging inspires my customers to act? How can I segment my lists so that I’m always talking to the right customers at the right time about the right thing?

2.  What is your offer?

Your offer isn’t the “20% off” coupon or a “BOGO” discount. Your real offer is what your customer stands to gain. In fact, when your offer becomes the “20% off” in the minds of customers, you can run the serious risk of cheapening your product or brand.

With some savvy, brands can effectively use discounts to get customers in the door, especially in B2C, but the real incentive for buyers should be more meaningful than that.

What will they be able to accomplish that they couldn’t before? How will their life be easier or more enjoyable? It should be on their terms. In other words, the messaging you choose should identify the pain point or benefit your customer feels or wants and how your product or service will help them. It should not be a list of product features.

3.  What do you want customers to do?

Or, put another way, what — after engaging with your email content — do you hope your customers will want to do?

Every email you send throughout your campaign should guide your customer toward a single, clear action. As you plan your promotional campaign, determining exactly what that specific action should be is key.

Use precise, descriptive language when writing your calls to action. “Shop more products,” for example, communicates an action more clearly than “See more.”  Also, be aware of how much you’re asking your customer to do. “Shop now” requires a lower threshold of action than “Buy now” and feels like less of commitment to the user.

4.  Is there an opportunity to get interactive?

Emails that encourage interaction right off the bat get a customer to start engaging with your content and brand. For example, Casper tested a new interactive email review form against its standard static form and saw double the response rate.

Like email personalization and automation, interactive content in email is growing more sophisticated all the time. Brands today are sending emails that allow customers to shop products and fill their carts without ever leaving the email. Even including a simple interactive element like an animated gif could boost your conversions. A/B testing can help you discover what works for your audience.

5.  How does this campaign integrate with your other marketing efforts?

Chances are, a number of your email subscribers engage with you in other channels. How can you use these overlaps to maximize engagement and develop fuller customer journeys?

Anymore, people expect omni-channel experiences from brands. Your email marketing efforts should not happen in a silo. Think about how they integrate with your social media, website, and in-store experiences (if applicable.) Tools like Journey Builder help you create integrated cross-channel experiences that strengthen your customer relationships.

6.  What will you measure?

Benchmarking for promotional campaigns is crucial to honing your email marketing strategy. First, ask “What does success look like?” Is it increased conversions, new leads, revenue, and so on? From there, determine what KPIs will best illustrate how well you achieved success. Then set benchmarks to measure against throughout your campaign.

This will help you understand what worked — and what didn’t — for your campaign and lead you to insights for improving your next one. Tools like Email Studio make this easier by helping you track and optimize your email journeys.

7.  Is your customer at the center?

This goes back to #1. Ask yourself, “Does this campaign serve my customers? Does it invite them to engage with my brand on their own terms?" This final gut check will ensure that your campaign will be relevant and meaningful to the people who matter most — your customers. This, more than anything else, will determine the success of your promotional campaign.

Running any successful email campaign requires careful thought and planning, whether it’s your first or your hundredth. In the end, though, it’s time well spent.

Check out these 5 Proven Email Campaigns No Customer Can Resist for more winning ideas to inspire your next email campaign.