You’ve probably read countless articles praising email marketing as one the most cost-effective and revenue-generating platforms available. While I am not denying this fact, my goal in this blog article lies in exposing a common misconception in email marketing that can lead to severe ramifications on your long-term brand strategy.

Business executives will often delve into email marketing with the idea that they will wake up the next morning with an over-sized wallet and a phone ringing off the hook with perspective sales leads interested in their business offerings. While this is perhaps a realistic goal in the foreseeable future, it is certainly not something you can expect overnight.

Marketing enthusiasts are often blinded by the reality that developing an effective email marketing strategy requires initial research, consultation, creative and strategic thinking, time management, realistic forecasting, evaluation of results, and a dedication to act on your measurable results for continuous improvement. For this reason, they are inclined to jump into email marketing without any rhyme or reason and without clearly defining their goals and objectives beforehand.

This is equivalent to joining a gym without a workout routine and eating plan in place to optimize results. You may be intrigued by the “before-and-after” photos plastered all over the internet and on gym walls. However, you can’t just sign up for a gym membership and expect to melt fat and lose inches instantly. In an effort to get in the best shape of your life, it is pertinent that you research the proper foods and workout routines best suited for your body type and your weight loss goals. Consultation with like-minded individuals will give you the inspiration and motivation to keep up with your weekly workouts and continue with healthy meal preparations. Oftentimes, flexing your creativity and strategy by changing or tweaking workouts to train different muscle groups will help you achieve faster results in a shorter amount of time. Having a realistic weight loss goal in mind and continuing to track your results and performance will lead you on a fast track to success.

This is all well and good. However, when barriers in the form of unhealthy food cravings and laziness present themselves on a daily basis, losing 30 pounds in 30 days suddenly becomes out of your reach.

Email marketing is no different. You can reasonably expect that your desire for positive performance will propel you with the momentum to keep moving forward. However, when you are faced with the additional time or costs necessary to design an attention-grabbing email creative coded properly in HTML and an easily navigable, informative, and well-designed website, it’s easy to give up and lose sight of your potential in the email marketing space.

Knowing your goals and understanding your audience will require extra cost, time, and strategic thinking up front, but will undoubtedly pay off in the long run. If you consider yourself a newbie to email marketing, refer to a related article entitled “Managed Email Marketing For Dummies” for a full overview of the benefits of email marketing as well as what is involved in the primary stages.

If you want to take advantage of all that email marketing has to offer your business, it often requires partnering with an email marketing agency with years of experience under their belt in the proper execution of an email marketing campaign.

When you subscribe to a managed email marketing service, a dedicated account manager will assist in the following aspects of email campaign strategy:

1. Email Creative Build & Design

2. Subject Line Creation

3. Email List Cleaning & Validation

4. Data Management of Opt-in Emails & Unsubscribes

5. Email Creative Setup & Testing

6. Inbox Deliverability

7. Real-Time Tracking of Email Opens, Click-Through Rate, & Overall Campaign Effectiveness

8. Fine-Tuning and Evaluation of Performance Metrics

Email marketing  is not a “one-and-done” marketing platform used to disseminate your promotional message across the masses. Just as you cannot simply exercise once and expect to see results, you can’t expect to launch one email blast and generate worldwide brand recognition. Rather, email marketing is a commitment to be implemented throughout the life-span of your business as you earn brand equity over time.

It pays to have a plan. When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.