It’s common knowledge in the office that I’m a huge self-confessed Harry Potter fan, encouraging every team member to complete the wizarding world online quiz to know what Hogwarts House they’d be in and, ultimately, get to know them better.
Most Potter fans know that without Hermione Granger, it would be a very short story where everyone perilled and evil reigned supreme… not much of a page turner.
The library-loving, book devouring, and fact checking friend of Harry Potter is the true hero of the books, saving her and her friends from danger countless times with her preparedness, logic, and forethought.
It got me thinking about how, in most aspects of everyday life, these are really good tools to have and how we could all be a bit more like Hermione when it comes to planning and strategy. She may not be the best on a broomstick or thrive in social situations, but boy she can plan...
Now, we can’t all have a Time-Turner to go back in time and fit in as many different lessons as possible like Hermione did, but we do have the next best thing. Sending schedules are essential to email marketing.
Knowing what you’ve got coming up, even if it’s just pencilled in at this stage, makes planning a whole lot easier. Try to fill in as much as you can, the staples being:
- Campaign title/name
- Approval date
- Send date and time
Approval date is a crucial one. If you need your campaign to be signed off by someone else, or if you outsource designs, you need to have a date when all players are happy with the end result. Ideally, you want to leave enough time between the approval date and the sending date to give you enough time to sort any data, run through sign off checks, and schedule the send.
The school timetable was one of the ways Ron and Harry realised it was impossible for Hermione to be enrolling in all her different lessons as there were multiple clashes. Ensure your sending schedule is accessible to all parties so everyone is aware of dates and deadlines.
Plan it like Polyjuice Potion
In need of a disguise, Hermione decides to make Polyjuice potion. Once drunk, your physical appearance changes to that of another. It is an extremely difficult concoction to make, mainly because it takes a month to stew. Hermione not only plans backwards every time they need to use the potion, ensuring that it’s ready in time, but finds a safe protected place to brew it without being discovered.
This kind of preparation is something we could all take on board. Of course, sometimes you have to be quick and reactive to situations (we’ve learnt that a lot with COVID-19), but giving campaigns the time and space they deserve will have a far better result.
First, if you’ve done an email like the one you’ve planned before, reflect on what you did and look at it with a critical eye - what could have gone better, what would make it more engaging?
Then, start to think about what the focus of the campaign is and what emotional reaction you want the recipient to have. Take time in testing things out, trying different layouts, asking others for thoughts on subject lines and taking notes on competitors.
Dissect, cut, and mix your ideas to your heart’s content. Bring all these different components of the campaign together, making sure you ring fence out some time in your schedule with Ministry of Magic levels of protection, and allow the email to brew. Sure, you can’t always spend a long time on campaigns, but every now and then take a step back and really take the time to analyse what you’re sending.
For the planned emails, brew them like polyjuice potion so you can fire out the reactive ones like a stinging jinx.
Have your essentials to hand
Wouldn’t we all love a magical beaded handbag that Hermione uses to house numerous items?
Right in the midst of trouble, when Harry Ron and Hermione have to flee from an attack, Hermione places an undetectable extension charm on her bag so it’s packed with everything they might need if they take a swift exit. Having a toolkit of essential items ready to be accessed at all times is a great way at looking at your email strategy too.
Sometimes I find it useful to take a step back from diving straight into planning emails for the year and think about bigger questions that might be in need of asking. There are a few key things to keep in your ‘beaded bag’ of essentials when devising your email strategy which are always worth revisiting.
Ask yourself these essential questions:
- What is the main aim for my email marketing strategy? This could be building up your list, improving your open rates, increasing traffic to your website, increasing your revenue by x amount, developing customer loyalty, etc.
- What do I want the recipient to feel when they open my emails? What is your overall brand message, tone of voice, mission statement?
- What part does email play in the bigger marketing picture? How does email interact with your other marketing avenues?
- Am I making it easy for the recipient to do what I’m asking them? Have I removed all the barriers to them fulfilling the purpose of the emails?
Unfortunately we live in a world where letters aren’t delivered by owls and meals don’t magically appear before you, but it’s useful, and perhaps comforting, to bring the world of magic and fiction into the everyday.
If strategy and planning is your main focus right now then remember: be more Hermione.