Great marketing should flow like a spring-fed river. Its levels might rise or fall with the seasons but it should never run dry or be prone to flash floods.

When your marketing activity runs dry, so does your sales pipeline. There is a simple solution to this problem. Simply restore your flow of marketing activities and start selling again.

But a flash flood may have more catastrophic results on your business.

A sudden surge in orders or inquiries can overwhelm a business. This might lead to orders not being fulfilled in a timely manner or to stock levels being depleted, both of which will leave customers frustrated and make your customer services/support teams feel extremely overburdened. All of this can tarnish your reputation. Even if you can scale up to cope with a flash flood of activity, you may be left paying for a resource (warehousing, staff, etc.) that you just don’t need when the flood waters rapidly recede. In the long run this simply isn’t a scalable way of doing business.

In email marketing, flash floods often occur due to lack of planning and lazy strategizing.

  • High-Volume Monthly Sends: Just because you have a sizable list doesn’t mean you have to hit it all at once. A much more manageable approach would be to deliver campaigns in bite-size chunks, ensuring your team is kept busy but is never overwhelmed. If a campaign drives more demand than anticipated, you can then restrict the flow until your team is more capable of handling the response.
  • Poor Customer Segmentation: Simple segmentation can help you prioritize your campaigns. Aside from segmenting by previous purchase type or engagement, it is also possible to segment by the perceived value of your customers. Hit your regular or high-value customers first, giving them the first opportunity to take advantage of your offer. You should then hit your less frequent or low-value clients. Because you have a reasonable relationship with these customers, your conversion rates should still be fairly respectable. Then hit your cold customer and prospect list. These guys will be more difficult to convert. Any that do convert should be moved up the food chain in future sends.
  • Poor In-House Communication: Marketing campaigns need to be built in cooperation with other departments within your business. It only takes a breakdown in communications with your warehouse, customer services/support, or sales teams to turn a marketing opportunity into a PR disaster. Remember, you are only as strong as your weakest link. So make sure you communicate your strategies internally as well as externally, and be prepared to make adjustments according to your colleagues’ needs and available resources (this doesn’t mean other departments can dictate your message).

Do your marketing activities come with a risk of drowning or are you left high and dry for weeks on end? How do you ensure your campaigns deliver business at a consistent pressure, allowing you to stay afloat and maximize your opportunities? Share your thoughts in the comments box below:

This post first appeared on the iContact Email Marketing Blog.