New year, new goals?

I know, I know; you've not even had your overly indulgent lunch and delivered a fake enthusiastic thank-you to your aunt for those socks. And personally, I can’t go through the festive season without watching Elf – which hasn’t yet happened – and we're already on the subject of New Year’s resolutions.

It’s true we can overdo resolutions or set our goals way too high, but as marketers we owe it to ourselves to pick up some good habits, and the DMA consumer tracker report has taught us that. Both marketers and consumers love email because it drives the best ROI and it’s the preferred channel across all age groups by 2:1. So everyone wins!

Let’s tackle what we think are the five aspirations that we should make habit in 2017:

1. Get your data in order – Maybe it’s a bit early for a spring clean, but a good clean set of data is the cornerstone of some excellent email campaigns. A leaking ship is never going to be fit for water, so find those holes in your data, set out a plan to fill them and you’ll be ready to set sail in no time!

2. Get to know your customers – 84% of consumers say that most of the email they get is irrelevant. With that said, we need to get more in-tune with them and a great way to gain that personal touch is to build a preference center. Gaining invaluable information on your customers, like how often they want to be mailed or if they prefer to be sent emails on specific events or products, won’t need guess work because they’ll be telling you want they want and how they want it.

3. Create Segments – If you’re on top of your data you can start to personalize or even hyper-personalize your emails campaigns. Being a personalization expert will make you sound less like that pushy car salesman (no offence to car salesmen) and more like a telepathic personal shopper, knowing what your customers want before they even know they want it!

4. Build new or review existing automation – Once you have mastered the last three points, you will most definitely have some new ideas for programs that you never considered before, or couldn’t build due to lack of data. Lapsed customer, purchase anniversaries or maybe even an internal engagement scoring program to help you separate the really engaged from those who need more attention. Remember, we don’t set automation programs just to forget them; we may need to blow the cobwebs off and re-evaluate or scrap programs if they’re not working or expand on programs that are exceeding expectations.

5. Test! – Pretty straightforward really…if you’re not already testing, make it part of your everyday and, if you are testing, make sure you keep stock of everything you’ve learnt.

6. Have fun with it! – Let’s face it, many of us can probably agree that 2016 was pretty awful. So, above all else, let’s cut loose and have fun in 2017! Use playful subject lines if your brand guidelines will allow it (maybe do it anyway because if you’re bored of your campaigns, you can be sure your customers are too!) Emojis are a great way to liven up a campaign, just be sure not to over use them as they can become tedious. Gifs are always a fan favorite, and personalized images like the stuff that Moveable Ink and similar companies produce can not only be fun but super engaging and effective too.

Now we know what to do the hard part is getting up and doing it, just like getting back into the gym on the 1st of January. But once you do you’ll be in great shape in no time (or at least your emails will).

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