How to create an email marketing plan for 2018

McKenzie Gregory

Tips for evaluating your email strategy going into 2018

As email continues to be one of the most effective communication channels available to marketers, it’s crucial that they have the right tools in place to continually evaluate their strategies. The reality is, however, we're all strapped for time and resources: According to our 2017 Industry Report, 64% say they don’t have the time or personnel to do the marketing they would like. As a result, regular analysis, testing, and iteration can slip through the cracks.
As we head into the new year, however, it’s especially imperative for marketers to refine their strategies and determine what they could be doing better going forward. By following some of these tips, marketers can get more ROI from their efforts and do their best marketing yet in 2018. 

1. Audit your 2017 strategy and response analytics.

First, take some time to really dive into your data from the past year. A few things to look for?

• Types of mailings sent
• Top-performing and lowest-performing emails 
• Send cadence 
• Audience analysis: Growth and opt-outs
• Average open and click rates across audience segments
• Correlations between types of subject lines (length, tone, keywords) and your open rates
• Feature usage in your ESP


2. Identify trends and key takeaways. 

Once you've gathered all the data you can find, take some time to really sit down and observe noticeable trends.

For instance, are your open rates decreasing as your send cadence goes up? This points to inbox fatigue and means you need to send fewer emails, or at least put your inactive contacts on a lower sending frequency than the rest of your audience. This is especially important to address in the year to come, as consistently sending to unengaged subscribers can hurt your inbox placement.

Have your clicks trended downward throughout the year? You should probably do some content testing to experiment with your button placement, layouts, and more.

Every trend you identify will allow you to form a more effective strategy for 2018.  


3. Determine your 2018 metrics for success. 

Increasingly, marketers must advocate for their channels of choice by demonstrating their concrete impact and effect on the bottom line.
It's true, high open and click rates are something to strive for: They prove that people are interested in and engaging with what you send them. But what is your company's REAL goal with email marketing? Maybe it’s to sell stuff, or to get people to share your content, or to attract potential students to your university. Identify the KPIs that truly matter to your brand (and, more importantly, your higher-ups) and find ways to track them to ensure your email strategy is helping you hit all your most important goals.

4. Choose the right integrations.

One great way to do just that? Find integrated solutions you can connect to your ESP that organize your marketing efforts into one big ecosystem (rather than a bunch of separate, disconnected tools). That way, every part of the subscriber journey becomes connected to the larger picture, and your audience gets the kind of cohesive brand experience they both expect and deserve.

5. Get some help! 

If you're an Emma customer and need some assistance optimizing your email strategy for the year to come, reach out to our Professional Services team. They're currently offering an Annual Review that includes a full audit of your 2017 response results and a customized action plan for 2018.  

Not an Emma customer? Request a demo.

About the Author

McKenzie Gregory

McKenzie Gregory is a senior content manager on Emma’s marketing team. A Nashville native, she can be found covering all things email on the Emma blog, debating hyphenation rules, and watching obscene amounts of Netflix without a trace of shame.

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