With 2017 well underway, we’ve made it past Blue Monday, and most of us are settled back into our routines. How have your marketing resolutions fared?
Whether you’ve already fallen off the wagon, or you didn’t quite get around to making any resolutions, here’s a gentle reminder: it’s never too late to (re-)start!
If it all still seems a bit overwhelming, this year, instead of trying a strict new regime, invest your energy in some incremental improvements to a digital marketing channel that generates £38 for every £1 spent.
You’ve probably guessed it: it’s email. With 73% of marketers rating email’s ROI as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ (2016 Email Industry Census), and increasing every year, this channel shows no signs of stopping.
To help you get started, I’ve come up with New Year’s Resolutions with an extra email twist. If you are already implementing some of these, hats off to you! If not, pick one or two and you’ll start to see the rewards soon.
Try (testing) something new
Subject lines are an easy place to get started when it comes to testing and most email service providers should offer you the capability to achieve this easily. There’s nothing wrong with testing subject lines, it’s a great way of understanding what topics are encouraging your subscribers to open emails. However, they’re only a small part of your testing potential. You could try testing copy, calls-to-action, images, content placement, tone of voice and much more!
Keep a close eye on the results, tweak and optimise. And if you want more testing advice, get a free copy at of our eGuide.
Trim the post-holiday fat
Crammed full of turkey, chocolate, mince pie and other delectable goods? Your own health isn’t the only fitness worth focusing on in the New Year–you may want to consider getting your subscriber list into shape too.
You may be wary of cutting down your database after you’ve worked so hard to build it, but if left to become unhealthy your deliverability will soon start to suffer. As the number of unengaged contacts within your subscriber list grows, your engagement rates begin to decline. If this trend continues then some email clients will act on your low engagement rates by sending your emails straight to your subscribers’ junk folder instead of their inbox. It’s a slippery slope, making it even more challenging to improve those all-important engagement rates.
As well as continuing to hit the inbox, you’ll also benefit from a clearer reporting overview. You may well see engagement rates increase too once they’re no longer diluted by unengaged subscribers.
“How can I achieve this?” you may be asking. That brings me nicely on to my next point…
Reunite with some old friends
One fantastic way to sort out your list is by running your unengaged subscribers through a re-engagement program. Simply send them a series of emails asking them whether to confirm whether they want to continue receiving information from you. If they open or click you can add these contacts back into your active list, but if they still fail to respond it’s time to take the hint and make the hard decision, removing them for the greater good.
Some of our clients have re-engaged with thousands of previously inactive subscribers. The IET, for example, re-activated 8000 contacts and increased their clicks by 40%!
Vary your content
As tempting as it may be to jump straight to advertising your products or services in every email you send out, this blunt approach can leave some subscribers uninterested and unengaged. Alternating your sales content with lifestyle pieces or advice help contacts see more value in your emails.
This can still help with sales in the long-run, as you’re selling the knowledge and expertise rather than the products themselves. And it’s a great way to drive traffic to rich content on your website, such as blogs or articles, while connecting with your customers on a different level than the buying process.
Take time to reflect
The start of a new year provides a great opportunity for reflection on all matters. It’s also a fantastic opportunity to take stock of your email marketing performance of the year just gone and find some learnings to benefit the year to come.
So take a minute (better yet, why not an hour or a day?) and look at some of your trends over the past 12 months to see if you can deduce anything which may help you. Was your click-through rate higher in one particular month? If so, what did you do differently that may have caused this increase? Is there a way to adapt that and use it more often going forward?
As well as successes, it’s important that we learn from our mistakes. We’ve all had some in 2016 so let’s use the learning to our advantage. As the saying goes, those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it!
Automation: Treat yourself and lighten the load
As valuable as learning from the past can be, don’t get stuck on reflection and regret – move forward! January is an excellent time to try something new and experiment a little with your email marketing. So if you’re not already using automation, this is the perfect time to start and realise what you’ve been missing out on. Check out what the industry is doing and see what you could apply to your programs. The 2016 Email Industry Census is a good place to start.
Welcome programs, triggered when customers sign up to a newsletter, are a great first program if you haven’t used automation before. This post has some useful advice available on setting up a welcome program.
For those with a little more experience, using automation to send abandoned basket, post-purchase recommendations and win-back programmes are good ones to try.
You might think resolutions are promises you make and give up half way through the year, but these email resolutions can make a real difference to your email results. And it’s never too late to start! To help you, we’ve created a checklist infographic to help you get your email marketing to a flying start!