You successfully made it through another holiday season. Congratulations! While you’re likely knee- deep in 2019 planning, now is also a great time to consider completing a thorough review of your email marketing program and strategy to ensure success in the new year.
It should come as no surprise to you, but subscribers on your email list have likely received hundreds of Black Friday, Cyber Monday and holiday shopping-related emails from a wide variety of businesses, all vying to grab their attention with promotions and special offers. As a result, email fatigue can reach an all-time high, causing many otherwise satisfied email subscribers to unsubscribe or even worse … hit that notorious SPAM complaint button.
Never fear though. There are some easy steps you can take in the new year to combat these potential issues, ensuring that your customers stay anxiously awaiting your next email.
Tips And Suggestions For A Successful New Year
Reduce Your Sending Cadence
One immediate thing you can do to stay in the good graces of your email subscribers is to simply review the cadence of emails you’ve been sending in the last month and a half and slow it down. Undoubtedly, you have sent more messages in the past six weeks than any other six week period during the year and you are just one company out of the hundreds of companies that are doing the same.
Slowing the cadence of the email messages you send will allow you to keep more contacts subscribed and engaged with your email campaigns. Remember, there is no one size fits all for this process. You have to look at what your past month to two months of email campaigns looked like and reduce from there.
As you reduce the number of emails to your subscriber list, keep close track of open, click, unsubscribe and complaint rates. You should find that your engagement rates are increasing from those during the busy holiday period, but your unsubscribes and complaints are reducing. If that is not the case, you’ll need to re-evaluate and consider reducing the number of emails further.
Segment Your Email List Based on Engagement
Another effective way to keep subscribers happy and reduce email fatigue is to segment your email list by those who have opened, clicked or purchased. Unlike segmenting your list by product or service interest, engagement is a great way to segment a list in a way that will optimize the connection between your company and your subscribers.
Consider separating your list into categories of “frequent engagement” and “low engagement.” From there, you can target those who are most likely to engage and purchase with more messages than those that are less likely. Not all subscribers engage with emails at the same rate, and some prefer to receive more emails than others. There’s no one size fits all in email marketing, so make sure you’re monitoring your subscriber’s behavior and targeting them according to their preferences.
Additionally, for the “low engagement” group, in the interest of tuning up your list, you may consider sending them a Reengagement / Last Chance email series to ask them if they wish to continue receiving email notifications from you. This will ensure your brand is looked upon favorably by major ISPs (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc.) and your emails are making it to the inbox.
Track Inbox Placement
Do you know how your messages are being received by your subscriber list? If you do not, now is a perfect opportunity to investigate this question. Checking the deliverability of your email messages is a very important step to ensure you have a solid foundation for your email marketing program in 2019.
Using a third-party service such as Return Path or 250ok will give you great insight into any deliverability issues you may be having. For instance, do your messages end up in people’s inboxes, or their spam folder? These services will help you pinpoint and understand any deliverability issues to give you the information necessary to take action and reach the maximum number of customers on your email subscription list. This, of course, will lead to increasing your bottom line.
Schedule An Appointment With Your Email Service Provider (ESP)
Third party tools are great, but setting up a quick call with your ESP could also benefit you in ways other options cannot. A representative from your ESP will have access to backend analytics you do not that will give you extra insights into your deliverability metrics.
If you are using a shared IP Pool, this is especially important. It could be that you are following all the email best practices to the letter, however, somebody else that is utilizing shared hosting on your IP Pool is not. If that is the case, their missteps could be affecting your email deliverability.
Building Your 2019 Plan
Once you’ve gone through the exercise of shoring up all the tips detailed above, it’s time to start planning how you will crush it in 2019 to exceed your prior year sales. Here are a couple great places to start:
What Was A Top Performer In 2018?
One great place to start when planning how to top the past year is to look at what worked best. Which emails had the highest engagement rates? Which emails had the highest conversion rates? Of the emails with the highest conversion, which had the best revenue results? All of these questions can assist you in planning your 2019 roadmap.
The answers will give you insight to the best ways to serve up personalized email communications to your subscriber list, in ways that are the most meaningful to them, ensuring you will continue to increase engagement, revenue, and retain subscribers.
It’s All About Automations
Just because you are slowing down the cadence of the marketing emails you send during the first quarter of the year, doesn’t mean that you will not be busy growing your email marketing program. Trigger-based (also called behavioral or automated) email campaigns are a perfect way to engage customers and boost your bottom line.
For instance, if you are an e-commerce site, now might be the perfect time to examine your abandoned cart email campaigns. Optimizing these campaigns will increase the chances customers will return and complete a purchase.
For customers that are your highest engagers / best customers, consider a VIP email program where they get special discounts, offers or a sneak peek of upcoming products before anyone else. These programs tend to perform very well by rewarding customers and promoting continued engagement and referrals.
The post-holiday period is a fantastic time to consider these factors, optimize your processes and set yourself up to make 2019 the most profitable year ever.