From Kelly Forst December 15, 2020
Prepare your email marketing for the new year with these 4 tips. See what worked, what didn’t, and how you can improve your email strategy.
Phew, what a year!
I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels like 2020 has been quite a whirlwind. I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely looking forward to a fresh start.
The global pandemic posed unforeseen challenges for small businesses – and many felt the impact on their marketing. In fact, 70% of the 79% of marketers who have a content marketing plan have adjusted their plan due to the global pandemic.
So if we’re looking forward to a fresh start, thinking about the year behind us can give us a lot of insight. Spend some time before the end of the year to take a step back and think about what worked, what didn’t, and what should change in the new year.
In this blog, I’m going to show you how to evaluate your email marketing results and make changes in the new year.
Don’t have an email marketing strategy? Read here how to create an effective email marketing strategy before diving into this post.
4 steps to planning your email marketing
Step 1: evaluate your goals
If you are setting yourself goals for 2020, now is the time to assess whether you have met them.
Think about the goals you have set for 2020 and answer the following questions:
- Has Email Marketing Helped You Grow Your Business?
- How much have you been able to increase your sales through your email marketing?
- Have you built relationships with your subscribers? As?
- Have you added to your email list?
Use the answers to these questions to help determine your SMART goals in 2021. This is an important first step in planning your email marketing for the year ahead.
SMART stands for:
- Specific: Be specific when setting goals and expectations.
- Measurable: Make sure you set checkpoints to measure your progress.
- Reachable: You need to make sure that your goal is ambitious but achievable with your current budget, time and skills.
- Realistic: Your goal should be challenging but within reach.
- Time bound: Give yourself a due date to reach your goal.
Would you like to expand your list? A solid SMART goal could be: I want to grow my email list to 300 subscribers within the next 3 months.
Step 2: analyze your ideal subscriber
You may have a specific audience that you want to buy for your product or service. We call this your “ideal subscriber” or “persona”.
However, marketing personas can change over time. Even if you had a defined persona for your email marketing, it may be time to check that that persona is still the best reflection of your ideal audience. Without an idea of who you are marketing to, you cannot plan your email marketing to the best of your ability.
When evaluating yourself, consider the problem you are resolving in your email content, product, or service. Do you address your pain points? Who Recently Joined Your Email List? Has anything changed significantly for you in the past year?
It is important to have a solid understanding of the person you are trying to target in your marketing. It will guide all of your content creation and email marketing planning.
Step 3: Understand the current problems, wants, and needs of your audience
Of course, people’s needs evolve over time. The problems they faced in the past may not be the same as they face now.
Think about it. How have your ideal subscribers changed over the past year? Now how can you help them solve their problems?
To get the answers to these questions, you may need to do a little bit of detective work. Conduct interviews with your customers or subscribers and learn firsthand what problems they are facing, what type of content they need to solve their problems, and how your product or service solves those problems.
You can also just ask in your email marketing. Include a mood widget (like this one) at the bottom of your email and get specific feedback on what you liked or disliked in a message.
Your email analytics can also tell a meaningful story and give you an idea of what content they need and want. See your open rates and click your way through the prices – what type of content are most wanted? Create more of this.
Working out your content ideas in advance with an editorial calendar can help you figure out what you will be broadcasting and when. It can also help you plan new lead magnets and create email campaigns.
Step 4: Determine your ideal email sending frequency
How often do you email your viewers? Does this frequency seem to be working? If so, great! If not – or if you get feedback that you send too often or too little – it’s time to take a step back and do some research.
If you’re not sure what frequency of emailing is appropriate for your business, take a look at what other marketers in your industry are doing. Do you think it will work for her? What do you like or dislike about the emails they send?
Remember, quantity isn’t always the way to go. More email doesn’t mean better email. Find a rhythm that works for you and your subscribers and write it down on the calendar.
At AWeber, we’ve found that consistency is extremely valuable. For example, we send our weekly blog digest newsletter FWD: Thinking every Thursday afternoon. Our subscribers expect a newsletter jam with great content to get better results with email and they appreciate the consistency.
If you don’t know which frequency is best, give it a try! Email A / B testing, or split testing, is a marketer’s best friend. Test which days of the week you get better results, what time of day and even how often you send. Split tests allow you to test everything in your email and make data-driven decisions to improve your marketing.
Prepare for success in 2021
Start the new year off to a good start with this expert-made planning and tracking template for email marketing from AWeber. Organize, track and measure the results of all of your campaigns, broadcasts and tests in one easy-to-use place. Plus, we’ve already entered formulas so that you can easily analyze your email results.