5 Email Marketing Year End Tasks

As the year draws to a close, it’s not a bad idea to do some cleanup of your marketing assets. The asset most neglected, yet most valuable for the average marketer, is your email list, so let’s look at 5 things you should do with your email marketing list to freshen things up.

De-Crapify

The first and arguably most important thing you should do with your list is to clean it up. Unsubscribe any email address that’s been bouncing, assuming that your email service provider hasn’t done so for you already. Take a look at the addresses and fix the ones that are obviously wrong, such as domain name mixups. ([email protected] instead of [email protected])

Shine a Light

Take some time to identify who your very best members of your list are. Look inside your email analytics to see who always opens, who always clicks, who always shares your email newsletters. If you’re feeling generous, reach out to those folks and thank them for their continued support! If your email service provider doesn’t give you this data, consider switching – it’s that important. I still use WhatCounts Publicaster for this very reason.

Find Your Stars

Look in either your web analytics (assuming that email subscription is a goal conversion) or your email marketing software to identify the top performing conversion points for new subscribers. How are people finding you? What’s working best, and what’s not working so well? Set up some tests as you head into the new year, a testing plan that will help you improve your list subscriptions. For example, I’ve started testing out different kinds of Twitter cards to see if I can get better performance:

Cards_-_Twitter_Ads

Check Under the Hood

Stuff changes. Systems change. If you’re using any SaaS vendors – like Google Analytics, for example – stuff can change a LOT, and in the hustle and the bustle of daily marketing life, things fall through the cracks. This is the best time to do a systems audit. Make sure you’re using the latest tracking codes from Google Analytics, from your email vendor, from Twitter and Facebook, etc. so that you’re measuring everything important.

view-source_www_christopherspenn_com

Take some time to look at your email templates, too. Freshen up your designs. If your main email templates aren’t responsive to mobile and tablet devices, now is the best time to fix that.

Revive the List

The last thing to do is to look at your list and identify those members who have working email address, still receiving email but are dormant, meaning that they haven’t opened or clicked anything in a while.

WhatCounts_Publicaster_Edition__Segmentation_Manager

Get their attention! Consider an outreach program using retargeting and remarketing methods to get them to come back, to get them to either re-subscribe or just pay attention to you again.

These 5 year-end to-dos (and they work any time of year, really) help put you on the path to improved email marketing performance. Give them a try!


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What to change in 2015 using Google Analytics Benchmarking

Benchmarking is one of the most underestimated tools in the Google Analytics toolkit. If you haven’t already tried it out on your site, go read this post and try it now, then come back here. If you have, excellent.

Benchmarking by itself is a useful first look at what’s working vs. what’s not in your analytics versus peer competitors. But suppose you wanted a bigger picture view than just the moment, just right now? Suppose you wanted to see historically so that you could understand what’s changing over time? Luckily, there’s a way to get that kind of insight. Start by turning on your benchmarking and then go to the calendar selector. Select a reasonable period of time in 2014, be it the last month, quarter, or year to date (assuming data is available). Then choose a comparison period of year over year:

Channels_-_Google_Analytics 2

Having done this, let’s see what I can interpret from my findings. You’ll notice that you can see this quarter and the same quarter for 2013 stacked up row on row by channel. You’ll also note that I can see how I did versus peer sites in each row.

Channels_-_Google_Analytics

So what’s of importance? Four things stand out to me in the table above about my website.

1: Social was good this quarter compared to Q4 2013. I was roughly comparable with my peers last year, but significantly ahead of them this year. What I find interesting is not only did my site improve, but my peers fell behind, going from 1418 sessions from social to 1087. What did I change this quarter? Whatever it was, I should improve on it.

2. Organic search still has me above my peers, but I lost 50% of my advantage. I lost 9000 sessions compared to last year. This calls for a fresh look at my organic search strategy and tactics. Where was I getting links from last year? Where did I not get links from this year? Why?

3. At first glance it looks like I narrowed the gap with my peers in referral traffic, going from -43% to -33%, but that’s not really true. When you look at the hard numbers, I’m basically where I was last year and my peers lost ground. That’s not great, so if this were a full time business, I’d be hiring a PR agency right about now and giving them a mandate to go get me placed content on third party sites.

4. When you look at the number of new users that a site gets (third column) rather than just all sessions, you get a sense for how fast your audience is growing. Direct traffic (which very often is mobile traffic in disguise) stands out because last year it was a growing contributor to my site. This year it’s a declining one. Hmm. I’d better put my site through its paces and maybe refresh the design to be more mobile friendly.

By reading through this, you get a sense of what caught my eye. #1 was a trend acceleration, where both the percentages and hard numbers picked up the pace. #2 was a decline masquerading as growth. #3 was stagnation masked as a decline. #4 was a trend reversal. Look for similar patterns in your own analytics and then figure out what happened, why, and what you’re going to do about it.


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How to analyze all your 2014 tweets

Twitter’s Analytics tool has never been super forthcoming about all it can do. From its lackluster announcement of a stellar feature to non-obvious ways of getting at your data, it’s a goldmine without a map. As you start looking at the year’s marketing data, you might logically say, hey, can we analyze how we did on Twitter? From the default Analytics interface, the answer might appear to be no. Luckily, there’s a trick to get the answer you need.

First, log into Twitter Analytics by going to ads.twitter.com or analytics.twitter.com, depending on what your account is set up for (if you don’t see anything in one, try the other). Next, go to the Tweet Activity section:

Campaign_overview_-_Twitter_Ads

What you’ll see is the last 28 days of activity and some defaults to choose by month. We want none of that! Instead, use the calendar selector to manually go back to January 1, 2014:

Tweet_Activity_analytics_for_cspenn

You’ll likely see a screen with a few hazy charts and no tweets listed. Don’t worry. Hit the Export Data button:

Tweet_Activity_analytics_for_cspenn 3

Wait for a bit as Twitter thinks about it, then spits out a CSV file. Suddenly, instead of having just the last 28 days of data to work with, you have all of calendar year 2014 and then some:

tweet_activity_metrics__1__csv

According to Twitter’s analytics team head, @buster, Twitter now spits out the last 3,000 or so tweets you’ve made and the stats on them:

Now go apply any of the data analysis methods you’ve learned to the data, mix and mash it up with your web analytics, with your retail point of sale data, with anything else you want. You’re now in the driver’s seat when it comes to your 2014 Twitter data. For example, I did a very quick graph of impressions and saw this, a classic Pareto/powerlaw curve:

Screenshot_11_26_14__7_39_AM

I also checked and found that the median number of times a tweet of mine is seen is roughly 2,000. That sounds like a lot until you consider that I have 78,000 followers, and suddenly it means the average reach of my tweets is about 2.5% of my total audience. Still better than my Facebook Page by an order of magnitude, but put in context, my email newsletter crushes any form of social media. If I was running my personal life and accounts like a business, I’d double down on email instead.

Give this hidden feature on Twitter a try with your own data and see how your 2014 went.


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