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Prepping for Q4: Finish Strong, Start Fresh

Prepping for Q4

The end of the year is coming, and that means it’s time to start thinking about how to make your next fiscal year a success. Don’t leave the planning for December, when holiday and vacation schedules make communication challenging. Instead, start now. Review this year’s email campaigns, and get a head start on being awesome next year.

Here are some tips to help you determine what worked this year, what can be improved for next year, and where you should be experimenting.

Look at the data:

Review your campaigns for the year and take a hard look at the results.

  • Which campaigns worked?
  • Which didn’t?

Even though you undoubtedly still have campaigns to deploy this year, don’t wait to get started on your attribution reporting. Look at your previous campaigns, find out which elements made a difference, and determine how email impacted your bottom line.

Review your objectives:

Based on the findings from your data, ask:

  • How did email help you achieve your marketing goals this year?
  • In light of your team’s larger goals, what role should email play next year?

You may need to add or reconsider some campaigns to make sure they’re in alignment with your team’s overall objectives. Be willing to evaluate them on a case-by-case basis to make sure they’re still meeting your needs.

Revisit your strategy:

What does your email campaign strategy look like? Planned out for the next 24 months? Not sure what next week looks like? An email campaign/content calendar helps align your campaign strategy with your marketing objectives.

  • Are major campaigns clearly identified?
  • Can your team see what’s coming up in the next week/month/quarter?
  • Does your team have the info they need to meet deadlines without feeling stressed?

Take the time to plan out your campaigns. Use the content calendar as your North Star, and simplify life for your team.

Check your tech:

Remember that shiny new technology you purchased last year? Did it live up to the hype? Year-end is a great time to review your tech stack to see what’s being used, what gaps you need to fill, and what may not be worth the investment.

  • Are you paying for technologies that no longer meet your needs?
  • Are there new platforms or solutions that can help fill the gaps you identified?

Identify these things before the year ends so you can have an optimized tech stack in place before the new year begins.

Budget:

Take a look at the tradeshows, partnerships, and other large marketing investments that impacted your business this year.

  • What was worth doing again?
  • What new initiatives do you want to explore next year?
  • What email campaigns will you need to support those initiatives?

Make space in your budget now for the things that’ll have a positive impact on your business next year.

Email Extras:

What did you add to your emails that improved your click-thru rates?

  • Did GIFs generate more clicks?
  • Did including videos drive engagement?
  • Did dynamic content help your emails stand out?

Don’t guess! Dive into your reporting and find out what email extras are actually boosting engagement and adding to your bottom line.

And then, do your research: review some thought leadership pieces about upcoming email trends. (Hint: Here’s our piece about adding GIFs to your emails to get you started.)

  • What could you see working at your organization?
  • What email experiments do you want to run next year?

Take your ideas to your team. Create a plan to try them out, and build in A/B testing so you’ll know what’s working.

*Did you know: Dynamic content has a major impact on click-to-open rates. A recent survey of thousands of email marketers found that those using dynamic content report CTO rates 56% higher than those who don’t. If you’re not currently using it, it may be time to try it out.

Buy-In:

Before you can implement changes, you need buy-in from your team and key stakeholders. Think through:

  • How will the changes affect your team’s workload?
  • Do these changes conflict with other priorities?
  • Realistically, what does roll-out look like?
  • How will you measure the success of these initiatives?

Take your ideas to your team, and work together to develop a plan. The more you’ve considered ahead of time, the better your chances of getting buy-in.

A strategic Q4 leads to a dynamic Q1

Don’t wait until the end of the year to start reviewing. Invest the time now so you have a thoughtful approach to your next fiscal year in place before the year begins. Make Q1 planning a priority now, and you’ll set your team up for success later.

If you’d like to learn more about how Knak can help you reach your email marketing goals for next year, we’d love to chat. Reach out to nancy@knak.io with any questions.

Tania Blake is Knak’s Marketing Manager, where she’s known for her strong attention to detail and unique ability to balance "process" with "getting stuff done". When she’s not juggling a million and one projects, you can find her cooking up a storm, doing yoga, or hanging out with her family.

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