Season 1 Finale - Preparing For 2022: Your 4 Week Plan
This is our season 1 finale of Conversations with an Email Guru, but you won't be disappointed. As we focus a ton of time and effort on our holiday sales efforts we a) forget to plan for 2022 and b) January gets less love. And so, as the podcast takes 4 weeks off, returning January 3, 2022, I have set up a 4-week guide to help you plan and get ready to roll for 2022. In this episode, you will chat through my proven plan for success:
- In Week 1 (December week 1),you'll want to review the year - and plan accordingly
- In Week 2 (December week 2),you'll want to get your topics for January planned
- In Week 3 (December week 3), you'll want to map out your list growth tactics
- In Week 4 (December week 4), it's time to clean your database and revamp your segments
You are going to be so glad that you planned your email marketing efforts and can hit the ground running with total success come January 1.
If you have questions, please feel free to send them my way to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And in the meantime, I will see you all on our first Season 2 episode, launching January 3, 2022.
Happy emailing, everyone!
Listen to the podcast here:
Season 1 Finale - Preparing For 2022: Your 4 Week Plan
Hopefully, you have all felt supported this year especially heading into the holidays. It's time for the show to take a four-week break as we work up some great content, featuring more tips, tricks, and cross-channel support with many more guests heading into 2022. Stay tuned for season two, which launches on January 3rd, 2022.
In the meantime, I want to lay the foundations for what you should be thinking about heading into 2022. I know you're in the busiest time of the year, but it can be quite a shock to come out of two solid months and into a New Year, where we may start to see things slow down a bit, so I developed a four-week plan that you are ready to keep the traction going.
Week one, which is ideally December week one. We want to review the year and plan accordingly. This one is important so that you can predict the good, the bad, and the ugly headed into next year. I always start this by mapping out on an Excel spreadsheet the total revenue made from email each month of the year. I'd have January, February, March, etc. I put all the revenue emails made in each month.
In a secondary spot, I go back through the months and I'd break down the total revenue into campaigns, automated flows, and SMS if you have SMS. This will allow you to see the great months, the bad months, and maybe the flat months. Once those are documented, you could even formulate a graph for these using a Google Sheet because then you'll be able to see the peaks and valleys associated. Once those are documented, try to go through the months and add a bit of commentary so you can craft a story.
For example, if you notice that you had a crazy high month in June, but you know that the company was say on Shark Tank that month, you need to note that down because that's an outlier. Likely, it is not going to be the same in June 2022. Once you can cross stories and you might not have a story, but you should go back through and say, "I ran a BOGO this month. I did purchase $50 and get a $10 gift card free." You need to outline all of those so you have a story around your numbers. Once you have your story, start planning out your 2022 year glance.
What can you do to better support those historical low months, especially, say you sell a bathing suit? It probably would be. Some of the winter months are going to be your harder months. How can you support those low months? How can you balance out promotions and events throughout the year to keep things exciting and fresh but not over-promote, so you constantly have the perception of your brand being on discount? What can you do for Prime Day this year that can help you drive more folks to the website? Even if you're not on Amazon, why not capitalize on those big days?
Planning the year at a glance helps us to be able to see, firstly, how an email will play its part and then second, what other reinforcements we may need to bring in, so you get smarter every single year. You do this because you'll start to have year-over-year overlap and start to see the trends and maybe the outliers. You will not be sorry that you did this. This is a perfect way to spend December week one.
As we move into December week two, which is week two of your plan, you want to start getting your topics for the January plan. I say this again because, oftentimes, companies have put much effort into Black Friday that they forget that January is a new month, and we have to get our communications out like we would any other month. It's the end of the year, not the end of an email. Once you have your year at a glance, it's time to think through what is your January email strategy going to be. This can be a tough month coming off of the holiday season. Not to mention a time when people want to start living out those New Year's Resolutions. They want to save money.
Here are a few things to think about when crafting your January email ideas. The first one is, don't forget about your January ideas. If you are a company that can leverage the "New Year, New You" theme, then that is what your January should be all about, driving, education, support, and even a challenger, too, if you can. New Year's Resolutions and motivational emails that can align with your products are going to win. After all, people will spend money on things they know that will help them reach their goals. Oftentimes, people get gift cards and things for the holidays. This is the perfect way to spend.
Reviewing the year and planning accordingly is important to predict the good, the bad, and the ugly headed into next year.
Next up, what about new arrivals? A lot of time waiting until the New Year to launch a new arrival in January can be a terrific way to boost sales. Focus on promoting new arrivals within your catalog. It's a great way to avoid discount promotions by simply highlighting the newest items of the year and bundling some stuff together. If you know that you've got a few products that typically sell together, why not bundle for a discount? That's another way of thinking about new arrivals. It doesn't have to be a brand-new product.
Remember, January is very much winter. In January, why not host a winter sale? If you sell winter clothing, for instance, here's an opportunity to move large amounts of inventory. You can get creative with winter sales. It's not like the one I suggested in December, where you do those four days of Christmassy winter. This is a winter sale, anything that can support winter blues, winter clothes, or anything like that.
You can also offer value by creating bundle offers. For example, "Buy a winter jacket and get 10% off gloves." You can be creative here, and it is winter, so keep that in mind. A different plan on the New Year can be a "New Year, New Stuff" theme. We all love refreshing our wardrobe or home, especially as we start to head into a New Year.
Promote the idea of buying new things since old stuff is no longer suitable. Educate shoppers on new trends, colors, or upcoming needs they may not know about. For example, “Pineapple decor is trendy. Add it to your bedroom.” This works. My favorite top ten New Year must-haves. Shoppers love top ten lists. Here's your opportunity to create one for them for this New Year. Get creative and make a top ten list by collection, brand, or product category. If you want, you can always partner with like-minded brands and share lists for an extra boost in lists growth here.
An interesting one, holiday bills and stress relief email. What are people getting a lot of in January? Bills. Create a campaign to help them cope with holiday expenses. For example, let's say you sell tea. Why not create a campaign that shows the benefits of chamomile tea? It helps people relax, reduce anxiety, and sleep better.
If you've got a supplement company or anything like that, this is a perfect opportunity, so don't miss that one. There's also room in January for coming soon material. In January, create a campaign which features products that are coming soon. You can offer a pre-order option or simply provide a teaser of what shoppers can expect in the coming weeks or months.
Last but surely not least, what about a winner giveaway? If you're worried whether or not customers will buy after the holiday season, why not launch a January giveaway? Giveaways are wonderful ways grow your list, but also, it's a good way to get people rallied around your brand, both new and loyal customers. It’s a really good tactic. Email is a good delivery mechanism for giveaways.
Heading into week three, which is going to be closer to the end of the month here, December week three. We want to map out your list of growth tactics. With email ideas underway, we need to think more about your list growth tactics. We know we're dealing with list churn. We need to start thinking about your web pop-up first. If you have had the same web pop-up all year, it is time to change it. We found with clients changing up the message about every 30 days to be more relevant. The colors and the graphics on the pop-up start to appeal to more people.
We start to see that conversion rate go up because we are changing it up a lot more. People get numb to seeing the same thing. In doing this, you can also make the pop-up reappear more often. We have pop-ups stuff the first time and then we wait for 60 to 90 days right before we let it pop-up again. Imagine you could do it every 30 days because it's completely different. If you build this into your planning, this is something that you can broaden your horizons with your pop-up, and it takes 2, 3, maybe 10 minutes to update a pop-up that's already built.
People will spend money on things they know will help them reach their goals.
If you're already creating your year at a glance, why not work on what your pop-up messaging will be for the following year? We find the relevancy of trends here. For example, during November, your pop-up might say, join the list to get early access to Black Friday deals versus December, where we have something that says, "New Products Coming Soon. Sign up to be the first know." You got to get the pop-up underway first. In addition, you can start to experiment with a pop-up versus one that is going for somebody when they exit your website versus putting a chatbot at the bottom of your website. These are all list growth tactics we can play with.
Next, you want to think about other ways you can get folks on your list. Planning these other tactics are going to be key. Whether it's partnering with a brick-and-mortar store to generate email addresses by having a small little display of your product and a QR code where somebody can come and scan it and join the list for a free giveaway. Newsletter swapping with similar brands, where they send out an email on your behalf, and you send an email out on their behalf, and you both use the subscriber list to grow your own lists or do a giveaway with some partners adding new opt-in options to your organic social media efforts.
We talked about pop-up boxes, but why not, every now and again, have a post that links out to an opt-in form for 20% off only for your social media following. Maybe you're going to be reserving some paid media spend a little differently to use lead forms for opt-in testing. Either way, you're going to want to map these out on your year at a glance worksheet.
There are many things that we can do to grow our list, but one of the biggest issues is we don't plan. They're very reactive, and it's super hard to coordinate a giveaway with four partners if you haven't planned and you're trying to do it in a week, so take a moment. Type these things out on your year at a glance where they make sense and you're going to be happy with how you've preemptively thought this through.
Last but not least, we've got December week four, where we're going to dedicate to cleaning our database and revamping our segments because we are heading into a New Year, and like spring cleaning, we're going to clean our house. We want to work on the database cleaning, and now is the time to remove your bounces and unsubscribes. Get rid of them, they are not worth paying for.
They're useless to you unless you've got some very sophisticated SMS strategy where it bounces, move through SMS, but of course, we have opt-in in sales. It's a little bit harder than we think. If you do need the bounces and unsubscribes for data purposes, then put them into their suppression list that you can use for every email going forward.
You don't want to send to these folks, number one, skew your data. You're not going to be able to see accurate data. We still look like we're sending to a list of 300,000, but 100,000 are unsubscribed bounce, so we're sending to the list of 200,000. We need to be sure that the numbers we're sending are our best foot forward so that our result numbers can give us direction next.
Next, think about how you might slice and dice your database heading into the New Year. Do you want to create loyalty tiers out of your customers? Look at those that have purchased four or plus times. Those are your platinum segment. Three times, those are your gold segment. Two times, those are your silver segment. You can start to give these folks different emails and early access to new arrivals and such. That's an example of how you can start to slice and dice the database strategically.
You'll want to think about how your email could be stronger if you could send an even more targeted email and then create those segments. This is a great activity to do. If you don't have the information you're looking for, simply ask for it. Asking is a great way to use your email. There is your four-week plan. With this planning underway, you will be in good hands until we chat again on January 3rd, 2022. Please remember if you have any thoughts, questions, or comments, please feel free to send them my way to Conversations@EmailGrowthSociety.com and until next year. Happy emailing everyone.