Revamping your email marketing program for the new year

Ready to make some New Year’s resolutions for your email programs? Contributor Scott Heimes lays out concrete steps for getting a fresh start in 2017.


For an email program to be successful, marketers need to analyze and revamp sending strategies, tools and message content at least once a year to ensure recipients are engaged and enjoying the content their brands are sending them.

The coming of a new year is a time for resolutions and fresh starts, so it’s a perfect time to reevaluate and revamp email marketing programs.

By cleansing email lists, reworking templates and refreshing content, marketers can begin 2017 with a fresh approach to their programs that will re-engage and even win back some customers who may have disengaged toward the end of the year.

Clean your email lists

Cleansing subscriber lists of invalid emails lowers the risk of bounce-backs, which directly impact deliverability rates. If a marketer emails a list with too many invalid addresses, there’s a good chance that a domain will take notice and assume the brand has poor collection practices. Therefore, the brand’s emails may end up in the junk folder, or the sender may be blocked altogether.

To avoid this, marketers can use list verification services — such as BriteVerify, Kickbox or others — as a first step to improve their campaigns. Next, marketers have the option of implementing web form verification, which ensures new registrations go through the verification process at the point of collection.

This step helps ensure the email list is as accurate as possible.

Give your template a facelift

Branding inconsistencies in email templates can easily happen between marketing and other types of emails. For example, password resets or other transactional emails may look vastly different from other brand messaging.

This is because transactional emails tend to get set up and forgotten about because they’re automated. Marketing emails tend to be updated more frequently because marketers are constantly testing and adjusting their messages.

Be sure to compare your different mail streams for branding consistency to ensure a holistic brand experience is being communicated to the customer across the board.

Don’t be afraid to refresh the look and feel of all your emails in 2017 if there are inconsistencies. Consider how each template will resonate with different customer personas and ensure that the structure and format flow.

Remember to include the call to action (CTA) in the header, and make certain that the message hierarchy is consistent with the brand’s strategy and goals.

Lastly, when updating email templates, keep responsiveness in mind, as well as consistency across platforms. Often, inbox providers will make small updates to their email platforms throughout the year, so brands need to check that their code is compliant and that the emails will be responsive.

Refresh your content

Once templates are refreshed and ready to go, marketers should revisit their content strategy for the new year.

A brand’s objectives and goals may have shifted throughout 2016, so make sure that in 2017 the content and messaging of the email program reflect those changes and echo the voice of the brand. This is also a great time to cut back on content and streamline the messaging to create more impactful emails.

To kick off the process of refreshing content in 2017, try collecting emails and content of the brands that your brand emulates and strives to be like. It’s important to see what other marketers are doing and be able to play off of the features and assets that also resonate with your brand in your email program.

Launch a win-back campaign

Perhaps you discovered that some subscribers were less engaged towards the end of 2016. If that’s the case, now is an opportune time to launch a win-back or re-engagement campaign. This type of campaign can round out a marketer’s approach to a holistic email program and help bring back once loyal customers that may have had a busy holiday season.

Begin by analyzing engagement metrics and reaching out to those who have not engaged for 30 days. Craft a campaign with A/B testing and reach out to users to understand what is resonating with them. Try reminding the subscriber of when they opted in to receiving emails from your brand through humor or incentives. Lastly, always include at least one link for them to re-engage with the brand, perhaps one to the email preference center.

Whether cleaning up lists or launching a new campaign, marketers can use the beginning of a new year to freshen up their email programs and re-engage with their subscribers. Healthy email hygiene is important throughout the entire year, but capitalize on this time of reflection to evaluate your program and maximize engagement.

Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.


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