The holiday season is rolling along and for many email marketers, this can be the busiest time of the year. Holiday email campaigns have been in the works for months and kicked off leading up to the Thanksgiving weekend shopping bonanza. They will continue through the next few weeks, as marketers look to stand out from the competitors in the inbox, catch recipients’ attention and drive new sales to wrap up 2019.

As busy as email marketers already are during the holiday season, this is also the time to be actively setting up plans for early 2020. While every marketer wants to end 2019 on a high note, they also want to hit the ground running in the New Year. With that in mind, here are 5 New Year’s resolutions for email marketers to consider as we head toward January 1.

Stay up-to-date on data privacy regulations

While new developments in data privacy regulations impact every type of marketing to one extent or another, they are particularly relevant to the email marketing industry. Whether it is new rules regarding the collection of consumer data (like an email address), how that data needs to be stored securely, or how general opt-out requests should be addressed, email marketers need to be in sync with the rest of the organization on how to best comply with all relevant regulations – old or new.

In 2020, make it a point to understand how recent and upcoming laws and regulations, from the General Data Protection Act (GDPR) to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) may impact your email marketing program. As always, when dealing with laws like these, you should get professional legal advice to ensure your various programs and processes are fully compliant with the rules and regulations.

Test, test, test

This should be on every email marketer’s New Year’s resolution each year. If there is one constant in the email marketing space, it’s that what worked yesterday may not work tomorrow, and when you change that to last year and next year, the chances of it being true are that much higher. As with virtually any marketing channel, using the same messaging, offer, and creative over time will eventually lead to diminishing returns. The best way to combat this is to constantly test new options against your top-performing options.

Heading into the New Year, try to look at every campaign as an opportunity to test at least one new idea or tactic to see if it can outperform your control (or current top performer). Look at all the different variables you can test (email content, audience targeting, creative/imagery, mailing platform, subject line, etc.) and look for ways to optimize performance, even with small incremental enhancements.

Really understand and engage with your audience

Email marketers are well-versed at segmenting audiences and delivering relevant messaging to each group. But, the battle for attention in consumer inboxes takes place on a constantly changing playing field and one of the best ways to stand out is to truly understand your audience and make sure you are delivering the most relevant and engaging email content in every campaign. Taking the time to look deeper into your audience data and pull out actionable intelligence can pay huge dividends when you’re competing against the hundreds of other promotional emails that many consumers receive on a daily basis.

For 2020, make a point of finding ways to get to know your audience even better and then use that knowledge to craft even more relevant and attention-grabbing content for your email campaigns.

Dig into your performance data and analytics

While every performance marketing channel is built on the quality of its performance data, email has always relied on the ability to leverage a wide variety of data generated by every campaign to optimize future performance. Successful email marketers are experts at analyzing their key performance indicators (KPIs) in each campaign, running tests to identify changes in the data, analyzing the results and then using that information to optimize the next campaign. However, this is typically accomplished by focusing almost entirely on positive KPIs like sales, clicks, conversions, etc. However, this ignores a wealth of valuable data hiding in plain sight in a campaign’s so-called ‘negative marketing signals’. These include stats around opt-outs, spam reports, and other data points that identify non-responders. All of these data points can be leveraged in tandem with more traditional positive metrics to drive future performance.

Heading into next year, make a point of focusing on various performance data that you may not include in your current optimization initiatives. Look for lessons learned from negative data that can be used to reduce these types of negative or non-responses.

Leverage new email capabilities

While email marketing has been around for over 40 years, the difference between the first-ever marketing email and today’s mobile-optimized and interactive promotional email is vast. Despite email often seeming like the old-fashioned digital marketing channel, it continues to evolve as marketing tools improve and email inboxes adapt to the needs and wants of today’s consumers. These changes often provide new ways to deliver highly relevant messaging to every recipient, so it’s vital for email marketers to stay on top of these changes and learn how to best take advantage of them.

In 2020, focus on staying educated on the latest developments in email technology and identifying opportunities to either take advantage of new capabilities or quickly adapt to changes that might offer new challenges to delivering promotional emails to recipient inboxes.

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