How Golf can help you build an effective email programme

Building an Effective Email Programme

Sometimes you can find the best lessons in areas that are completely unrelated to your business sector.

The golf season is now in full swing (sorry).  I’m watching The Masters at the moment and it has occurred to me that the process of playing championship golf is a very similar to the process required to build an effective email programme for your business .

Wow, you might be thinking, comparing championship golf to building an email marketing programme is quite a stretch.  Maybe, but please bear with me…

Your email programme will be made up of a series of emails rather than a ‘hole in one’ and just as the aim of golf is to get the ball in the hole, your email programme will have an ‘end objective’ be that to move a prospect to a customer, to encourage further sales, or to build customer loyalty from a specific group of customers.

Being a successful golfer

So what can we learn from Golf.  What makes a good golfer, great?   Success in Golf is based on three things.

1. Raw Talent

Obviously you need to be a good golfer.  You need to be able to hit the ball (ideally miles), be able to get a golf ball out of a bunker and be good at putting.  If you want to a professional golfer, then you’ll need to practice (a lot).

Same for building an email programme.  You need the raw materials, some quality customer data, and some brilliant content.

2. Course Strategy

Let’s assume you are now a pro-golfer.  To win the next thing you need to be really good at is planning.

You need to do your homework.  

That is where your ‘caddy’ comes in, and it is the reason why you will hear golf commentators talk about ‘walking the course’.

planning your customer journey

The caddy will help you to understand the golf course, that is where you need to hit the ball to get around the course in the fewest number of shots possible.  When you see a golfer talk to their caddy and look in their little black book, they are checking their notes – and that’s only possible because they’ve done their homework.

Guess, what.  Same for building an email programme.

It’s a programme, not a one off message.  So think like a caddy.  You need to plan each stage of your customer journey.  It might take a few emails to move your prospect to the end goal.   List your objectives for your email programme.  Separate them into individual objectives and plan out the route from start to finish.  Just like a caddy would with a golf hole.

3. Consistency

By consistency, I mean the application of talent against the strategic plan.  You can have the best plan but if you can’t deliver then you’ll end up at +10 at the end of the first round and you won’t win.

The best golfers are the best because they are able to hit the ball into the same spot on a consistent basis.  However each course is completely different, so to be successful it’s all about the application of their (golfing) ability against their plan to tackle the golf course.

So you might hear that Rory McIlroy has a focus on greens in regulation.  That means give yourself two putts on every green.  To achieve that strategy he will need to keep his ball in the fairway at all times and that will help him to decide which shot to play at each time.

You need consistency within your email programme, that’s where marketing automation (such as Websand) kicks in, and moves your email marketing programme to a championship level.

Marketing automation will give you consistency.  Set the rules (as defined in your email programme plan) and let the marketing automation take over.  You’ll have consistency of message and those messages will be sent in line with the context of your audience.

Build an effective email programme

The same three things are true when you build an effective email programme for your business.

1. Business Talent

Your business is successful because it’s great at something.  It offers something so great that customers are willing to pay money for it.

2. Business Strategy

Your strategy is your plan.  How your business is going to get even better.

If you are building an email programme for your business then it is setting the objective for your marketing programme which could be…

Once you’ve established your objective, then you need to defining the ‘customer journey‘ that will best encourage your audience to meet this objective.

To follow the golf example is your email programme a par 3 (step process), a par 4 (step process) or even a par 5 (step process)?

Understanding the behaviour and persona of your existing customers (those people who have already met the objective) will really help.  This is the marketing equivalent of ‘walking the course’ and gives you the benchmark to achieve consistency within your email programme.

3. Consistency

The final part is how you put your email programme into practice.

Finding the best time to send each message based on the ‘position’ of the audience, and then consistently making sure that the right marketing message is applied to the right person at the right time.

Getting your audience into the right groups through customer segmentation is critical to getting this right.

Creating an email marketing programme is a data driven marketing activity, and it can get complex.

A current Titleist ad campaign for golf balls says, “the difference between good and great is precision”, the same is true when creating an effective email marketing programme.   The data you collect will allow you to make the little changes you need to make to move your email programme performance from good to great.

The 19th hole

Like winning a golf tournament, (or in some cases even getting around a golf course in under 100 shots) building an effective email programme isn’t easy.   It requires time, effort and occasionally a bit of patience to get it right.

To quote the great Gary Player, when asked about being ‘lucky’ his response was ‘Luck has nothing to do with it. The more I practice, the luckier I get’.

Luckily for you, we’ve had a lot of practice you can benefit from, and we’ve built a marketing platform that makes things a lot easier.

So, if you need a caddy to help you create an effective email programme then get in touch and we can carry your bag for you.

P.S.  If you don’t think this is for you, then consider (yet another quote) from Gary Player.  “Simply by making the effort to start something, you will be miles ahead of almost everyone else.”

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Also published on Medium.