Spring is here — that time of year when everyone starts cleaning out all the “stuff” they’ve accumulated. But while the spring cleaning ritual will undoubtedly include some heavy dusting, house-wide reorganization and purging of clutter, it’s no longer limited to people’s physical lives.
With today’s digital lifestyle, that clutter invariably lives on PCs, tablets and mobile phones, so expect consumers to “spring clean” their devices, too.
Why should this matter to us as marketers? Because if we’re not careful, our communications will get tossed out with the junk. Now is the time to do a little spring cleaning of our own and ensure that our communications are simple, deliberate and relevant.
If we’re not reaching customers with personalized communications over relevant channels and during appropriate times, we might as well assume our messages are going straight into a digital trash bin.
Here are four tips to help clean up your digital marketing campaigns in time for spring:
Refresh Your Distribution List
Without proper upkeep, subscriber lists quickly become outdated and fill up with non-existent, invalid and unengaged addresses. Continually using these lists will lead to spam reports and bounce-backs – both of which can damage email deliverability and your company’s reputation. As a top priority, you should ensure that your target lists are up-to-date.
This can be done by sending a subscription confirmation email to inactive addresses with a special offer or other incentive. This reconfirmation campaign can be used as a final step toward removing “dead” contacts (long-term non-responders).
Another best practice is to ensure you have a process in place for scanning and removing bounce-backs. Clearing out bad contacts after the first hard bounce will help you avoid deliverability issues and allow you to focus on real customers to judge the effectiveness of your campaigns.
Tip: Clean out your subscriber list by identifying and removing unengaged contacts. Marketers who ignore this housekeeping won’t be able to fully judge their campaign’s effectiveness and also risk damaging their reputation with spam reports.
Put The Customer In Charge
Today’s consumers engage with brands on their terms and on their own time. As marketers, you should take this into account by offering a full-featured preference center. Let the customer directly share how they’d like to be contacted, including their items of interest and the channels in which they wish to receive information.
With the customer in charge of the relationship, you can determine the best channels and means of communication – whether that’s email, SMS, a social media post or even more traditional communications like direct mail. Also, don’t forget to track valuable customer data such as clicks, likes, retweets, replies and more to further personalize your communications.
Tip: Use a preference center to determine the best channels for reaching your customers. Marketers who ignore this tip risk having customers miss their communications completely.
Segment Customers By Location & Responsiveness
Marketing campaigns are increasingly global with customers that expect brands to accommodate their schedules. Consequently, you need to make sure you’re properly segmenting your customer base and timing your communications accordingly.
Are customers opening your offers and newsletters on certain days? Can you segment your customers by location to identify the appropriate time to contact them? How responsive are your customers to the current volume of outreach?
Blanket strategies won’t be successful across a large number of customers – especially when dealing with global campaigns. Break down customers into segments and adjust communications to their location (time zone) and availability. Measure each customer’s limit with your brand by evaluating how responsive they are and pare down or increase communications accordingly.
Tip: Tailor your communications cadence to individual customers by taking into account their location and interaction with the brand. Marketers who ignore this tip risk quickly alienating customers.
Test, Test & Test Some More To Stay Relevant
It’s difficult to know what will resonate with consumers without trying it first. That’s why it’s important to constantly test your communications (with A/B testing), refining everything from subject lines to images and messages.
This will not only help you identify general best practices for engaging customers, it will allow you to see which offers perform best among specific target segments.
Also, it’s important to compare devices and platforms during testing. Consumers are interacting with brands on smartphones and tablets more than ever before, so marketers need to ensure that their communications are effectively displayed regardless of which device a customer is using.
Finally, since consumers are constantly adopting new technology and changing their habits, testing should be an ongoing practice. This will ensure that you’re keeping up-to-date with the latest trends, technology and platforms.
Tip: Incorporate ongoing testing across channels and devices into your campaigns. Marketers who ignore this tip risk inconsistent and ineffective communications to customers.
By combining the four tips above, you’ll be prepared for this year’s spring cleaning with communications that are highly personalized and relevant. And regardless of the time of year, these best practices can help ensure that you’re reaching customers over the appropriate channels, with the right timing and frequency, and with effective formatting and content.
So, take a moment to clean up your marketing campaigns. The more relevant you are, the more likely your communications will survive this year’s spring cleaning and stay out of the digital trash bin.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.