Coming back from a busy holiday season can be a stressful time for any marketer with new goals and initiatives, year-end reporting, and business-as-usual work to complete. But after your aggressive year-end email marketing campaigns, how can you start the year on the right foot? Here are some tips to get your email program off and running in the new year!
1. Take a breath and make a plan.
When you come back from the holidays, reporting on 2019 while figuring out the 2020 strategies can feel overwhelming. That is why an initial plan can be a good place to start and can help you feel in control of your email program. The first step to creating your plan should be figuring out what worked in 2019 and maybe more importantly what did not work. Then, you can prioritize your email needs and determine the quick wins you can implement, like what is going to be a longer process, or what can wait until later in the year. With the priorities in place, you can start tackling some of the quick wins based on 2019 results, rather than jumping directly into a complex initiative like lead scoring or using predictive models. If you had a weak open rate, maybe a simpler subject line test plan might do the trick without spending countless hours on something else.
2. Give your customers a break.
Limit Q1 sales emails and possibly email communications in general, especially to customers who just made a year-end purchase. Giving both new and existing customers some more engagement-focused lifestyle content can increase their loyalty in a time that they may not be ready to make additional purchases. This can also keep metrics like open and click rates high if your customer base is a little fatigued by the many “GET $10 OFF NOW” messages they received during the holiday season. Additionally, this will allow you to continue to build and maintain a positive reputation with the ISPs due to the continued engagement rates.
3. Ensure new customers are being properly welcomed.
If you had a lot of first-time customers during the holiday season, great job! But, are you making sure you do not lose them as repeat customers or even doing your part in making them loyal customers? Many times, a welcome series is set up by an organization but is not often checked and reviewed for performance. Set it and forget it campaigns are great, in that they allow you to focus on creating new marketing initiatives and campaigns, but not if they are not performing. Go into your analytics platform and make sure these new users are still engaging with the content and ensure they are not unsubscribing before getting to your newsletter or other engagement campaigns. Also, with a wealth of new subscribers from the end of year purchases, you could be getting some valuable data that could dictate testing and optimizations for the rest of 2020.
4. Make sure new discounts are targeted.
If you must send out some January or Q1 discounts and sales emails, try to target the messaging based on actions that customers took in 2019. If they just made a purchase in the holidays this could be an opportunity to cross-sell and upsell these customers, while acknowledging that they just made a purchase. Also, if these are new subscribers who just made a purchase, this could be an opportunity to increase engagement by showing that you personalize content just for them. This will increase engagement throughout the year and ensure that these new subscribers do not unsubscribe before you can turn them into loyal customers.
5. Check-in on deliverability.
With the many emails and bosses pushing to meet goals, the end of the year can be more focused on revenue, than the best email practices. Review any changes, possibly made hastily at the end of the year, to ensure all communications and technologies are not impacting your deliverability rate. ESPs usually come with a basic deliverability score, but you may want to look into 3rd party vendors that offer additional tools for monitoring your overall inbox placement and deliverability rates if this is an issue for you or if you would like to be proactive. These scores and deliverability-focused vendors look at things like abuse rate, inbox placement, and other things that an old school delivered rate, which only accounts for bounces, does not. Also, with many new subscribers entering your database, and new 2020 campaigns around the corner, it is a perfect time to ensure your communications are entering the inbox.
6. Ensure your current data structure meets CCPA standards.
If you are a digital marketer, you have probably heard of the new California Consumer Privacy Act or CCPA. The law went into effect the first of the year, so if you have not audited your programs based on the new regulations, now is the time! Meet with your data and technology teams to make sure you know what data you are collecting, you are not selling information, and ensure your subscribers can access their given information.