As the end of the year draws nigh, we tend to become swept up in the holiday rush, planning and taking vacations, entertaining friends and family, shopping and simply trying to get into (and maintain) the holiday spirit. Marketing strategy is not usually at the top of the long To Do list. But December really is the ideal time to design your 2018 marketing plan.
Here are six tips to ensure next year’s email marketing efforts don’t produce lumps of coal.
1) Are you listening?
December is a great month to really listen to your clients and get an idea of what is most important to them. Kick off your holiday marketing with online survey tools to pinpoint what your clients are looking for and find out what’s most valuable to them. Use this information to customize the content (including featured products and services) in your emails to make them more relevant. Then use the data to prepare your strategy for the first quarter of the year so you can kick the New Year off with a solid 2018 marketing plan.
2) Learn from previous years’ follies and triumphs
Who wants coal in their stockings? Think back to last year’s email marketing campaign and review what worked and what didn’t. Transform last year’s marketing coal into next year’s business development diamonds. As technology continues to improve and more data becomes available, use that information to your advantage – make adjustments to your strategy based on the trends and feedback you track and focus on the most targeted and relevant marketing to increase engagement and opportunities.
3) Check your list twice
Review your prospect email database list to identify who has been naughty or nice… Who hasn’t engaged with your published content and who has? Clean up your prospect list accordingly. Adjust the frequency of your messaging. Assess the relevance of your segments. Convert the naughty to nice with a final promotion or call to action. Ask subscribers if they would like to stay on your list or be removed. Reduce the frequency of their messaging if they do not respond and refocus your efforts on the nice (qualified and engaged) prospects on your list.
4) Make email marketing the gift that keeps on giving
Marketers have more outlets and platforms for publishing and sharing than ever before, but email remains the cornerstone of integrated marketing programs. In addition to beating other channels for return on investment, emails remain the preferred method for consumers to receive the information they need to make informed decisions. Attribution to email will continue to increase, as the savviest marketers fine-tune the relevancy of messages to enhance client and prospect engagement. This kind of targeted marketing has limited application in the vast web universe, but in the email world, you are able to (and should) capture and drill down to the smallest details that help you deliver the most appropriate messages to the right people at the right time for the highest return on investment. Make sure that the most targeted and segmented marketing is included in your 2017 plan.
5) Custom wrap your communications
If you fail to package your messages in the right ribbons and bows and merely send the same generic templates out to everyone on your list, you will ultimately pay the price (or, pay the ultimate price, as the case may be). In addition to creating deliverability problems for your firm, you will undoubtedly alienate prospects and clients who either already have, or don’t want, what you are mass promoting. If you are a smart marketer, you will identify who wants what and who responds to which kinds of messages, and you will plan your communications accordingly. Targeted, segmented and relevant marketing is a gift in and of itself.
6) Share the joy between email and social media
Maximize engagement by integrating your email campaign with your social networks and vice versa. Include newsletter/email sign-up options on each of your social communities, and likewise promote your social media accounts within your email campaigns. Consumers often seek different types of information from different sources – give them the gift of alternate methods of engagement. Then offer them unique content and means of communicating with you based on the strengths of each platform or channel.