And when we say “free,” we mean it.
We know, we know. It’s August. You’re probably still deep into your back-to-school and Labor Day campaigns, with Halloween in your sights. But we’d like to encourage you to think ahead to the all-important fourth quarter and how your holiday email marketing efforts could make it your biggest and best ever.
If you haven’t thought much about it yet, don’t worry. Only 20% of email marketers start planning for their peak email season more than three months ahead. But this also is your reminder that Black Friday is 3 months away, and even less than that when you think about how early those promotions begin.
Besides, a lot of teams at your company have their fingers in the holiday planning process. So, we don’t want to make you feel guilty about needing to wait until those pieces fall into place.
But, while you wait, invest a few minutes (seriously, we’re talking just coffee-break time here) to look at what you could begin working on now for a bigger and better peak email season.
Even if you aren’t a retailer, you probably close a lot of business from October to December, whether you measure that in donations, new accounts or memberships, renewals, upgrades, win-backs or KPIs that we haven’t even thought of yet. Email should be a key part of making the magic happen.
1. Check up on your email list’s health with Free List Check
Your email database is your greatest asset, not just to your email marketing program but all the way through your company. Email validation plus regular and rigorous list hygiene that removes problem addresses are “must do” functions to maintain a healthy database.
Not sure how strong your list is? Run Free List Check to get you a high-level snapshot of your list quality that will show you whether your list gets the “all clear” or has potential problems.
Just upload your email list in a .txt file and follow the prompts. We’ll scan your list quickly and tell you if you have issues with invalid addresses, spamtraps and blacklists, and forced signups.
Besides your email list, we’ll need your email address so we know where to send your report when it’s ready. We won’t use your address for anything else, and we’ll wipe your data as soon as we’re finished with it.
2. Identify one way you can improve your email program
One small improvement now can pay off down the road – and help you justify a request for time and money to build on your success.
The big question: Where do you start? You have many choices (and we offer up three starting points below). But before you start thinking in specifics, step back and look at the broader picture.
What’s the pivotal point in your customer journey, the one that drives future revenue, repeat purchases, engagement or loyalty? It could be persuading new subscribers to buy for the first time, to open an account or renew a membership.
Every business has a different pivot, but all can use email to achieve it. The list below is keyed to several crucial points in a typical retail customer journey that can also apply to other B2C or B2B business models. One change in any of these can lead to incremental gains:
Acquisition: Do one thing to make your opt-in invitation more inviting. Two ideas:
- Put an opt-in invitation on every public-facing page of your website, including landing pages tied to your SEO/SEM campaigns.
- Focus on benefits – “Save money” or “Get subscriber-only industry insights to help you work better” instead of “Sign up for our weekly newsletter.”
Conversion: Make it easier for your customer to succeed, whether in buying, downloading content, getting help or opening an account.
- If you send recovery emails to customers who abandon carts, break off downloads or account registrations, see how you could make those emails more helpful – better subject line, links and contact info for customer support, maybe even one more email to create a series.
Engagement: That’s a vague term that can mean anything from keeping your new subscribers interested in your emails, nudging them to a first purchase (or your pivot point) or keeping them from wandering away.
- See how you can add value to a welcome message, watch for early signs of interest drop-off, or don’t wait too long to start sending re-activation emails.