spring is like a perhaps
Hand in a window
and fro moving New and
people stare carefully
moving a perhaps
fraction of flower here placing
an inch of air there)and
without breaking anything.
— Spring Is Like a Perhaps Hand, E. E. Cummings
When Springs Arrives, The Smart Marketer Thrives
Happy Spring, fellow marketers! March 20th was the first day of spring – even if it didn’t quite feel like it. Living in Florida, I don’t really have the opportunity to enjoy “seasons” beyond mildly hot, hot, and extremely uncomfortable. However, I can still appreciate the beauty of springtime.
What comes to mind when you think of spring? Flowers, warmer weather, rain showers, cleaning... and marketing maintenance? In E. E. Cummings’ poem Spring Is Like a Perhaps Hand (referenced above), unique syntax is used to discuss the slow progression of the seasons. Like spring, updating your marketing efforts can be a slow-moving process. Especially if you’re struggling with limited resources and a complicated approval process. We’ve all been there.
But even with resource challenges and approval woes, there are a number of high impact activities businesses of all sizes can undertake to refresh their marketing programs. This spring, I’ve been particularly inspired by a few of my favorite poets. So, if you can stand a few cheesy rhyming headers, read on to learn more about the 6 activities I recommend for a little marketing spring cleaning.
1. Sending Emails without a Fresh Strategy is Like Committing Marketing Blasphemy
Ouch, that rhyme was rough... I probably shouldn’t quit my day job. When was the last time you reviewed your email contact lists? Like really reviewed them. Database churn is a regular and normal part of email list maintenance. If you use a tool like HubSpot, unsubscribes, hard bounces, and soft bounces are managed for you. However, there’s more to list maintenance than removing unsubscribers.
Tackling the concept of graymail is an important initiative for HubSpot in 2017. HubSpot describes graymail as: “Email that your contacts have opted to receive, but don't actually engage with. By reducing the amount of graymail you send, you can improve your email sending quality and score. Over time, you will see higher engagements and open rates from your contacts since you are sending to people who are more interested in your content.”
There are a lot of reasons to clean out your contact database. Most importantly, you want to be careful to protect your reputation with email providers. A large number of spam complaints and low engagement can signal that your email is better suited for the junk folder rather than your reader’s inbox. Additionally, from a financial standpoint, tools like HubSpot, MailChimp, and Constant Contact charge you by how many contacts you have. The cleaner your contact lists are, the more money you save.
2. April Re-engagement Showers Bring Email Superpowers
Once you’ve assessed your contact database, you’ll likely be left with three main groups: unsubscribes/hard bounces, inactive subscribers, and active subscribers. The vast majority of unsubscribes and hard bounces can be permanently deleted. But what should you do with the contacts who fall under the graymail category?
The answer: run a re-engagement campaign. Give uninterested contacts the opportunity to continue to receive your emails before you permanently remove them from your contact list. To help steer your planning, feel free to read about PMG's recent re-engagement campaign results in this post. Impact Branding & Design has also created a great list of 10 steal-able re-engagement ideas you can use to rekindle your relationship with stale contacts.
The message of your re-engagement will vary based on your business. I especially like the Valentine’s Day spin in example #1 from the Impact article. I could see a similar tactic being used for many, if not all, of the major holidays. Your re-engagement campaign should look different from your everyday promotional email and should specifically invite contacts to reconnect. If after your campaign readers still haven’t engaged, then it’s time to cut them loose. You'll be glad you did when you have clearer analytics, a more affordable email tool, and higher performing emails.
3. Spring Will Come and Go. CMS Settings Are Forever Though.
This tip is straightforward but easily forgotten. When setting up a new CMS tool, you go through the steps of determining content settings, creating templates, adding contacts, and setting up notifications. I recommend going back through this exercise at least once a year to be sure your tool is still functioning as intended. Every tool is different, but here are a few tips for reviewing your HubSpot settings:
- Update IP Blocked Addresses: Add new employees, new mobile devices, or outdated IP addresses. IP addresses will change if your team has moved.
- Review Social Media Profiles: Be sure login credentials haven’t lapsed.
- Lead Revisit Notifications: Who isn’t receiving these notifications that should be?
- HubSpot Access: Revoke access from former employees or update access levels as needed.
- Email & Landing Page Templates: Review templates and delete unnecessary variations.
- Update Your Personas: Personas shouldn’t be a once every couple of years exercise. Update your personas with information you’ve learned over the last year.
- Reorganize Image Folders: Raise your hand if you don’t always upload images to the correct folder and you leave it where it is. OR how many times have you uploaded 10 variations of the same image? Spring is the perfect time to get your folders organized. Just double check the images aren’t being used before you delete them!
4. Rhyming with Blog Optimization Is a Pain in the Rear. Refreshes Should Be Completed Each Year.
Have a few underperforming blogs? Who doesn't. It takes time to see the results of your optimization efforts. Keyword competition can also grow over time, and new keywords may have gained popularity since your content was originally written.
Take this spring cleaning opportunity to refresh the blogs that never got the views they deserved. To do this, you’ll want to use the HubSpot keyword report or Google Keyword Planner to find new trending terms that can be naturally worked into your content. Additionally, find new ways to promote these posts—including social media, advertising, or pop-ups like HubSpot’s Lead Flows.
5. Speaking of Lead Flows... You Really Should Be Using Those.
A big part of any spring cleaning marketing plan should include a few hours of research time. We're an industry dedicated to creating content, so there can be an overwhelming amount of marketing information and tips out there. I'm willing to admit, if you are that I'm not always as good about reading all the helpful articles as I should be. Client requests, tool training, and getting my monthly PMG blog posts submitted (almost) on time tend to be the higher priorities. I can't help you catch back up on your reading, but I can direct you to one of the most important new tools launched last year, HubSpot Lead Flows.
Marketers constantly struggle to keep website visitors interested enough to get to the "meat" of their content. As attention spans get shorter and shorter, fewer readers are seeing the all-important CTA at the bottom of your blogs... if they are even making it to your blogs at all. No longer are CTAs married to the bottom of content, or to the often ignored sidebar.
Lead Flows are website "pop-ups" that can be used on any website page to direct website visitors to gated content.You've probably seen paid variataions of this tool, but the best part about Lead Flows is that it's free, even if you don't have HubSpot.
At PMG, we've used Lead Flows for a variety of activities: newsletter sign-ups, lead generation offers, and even event promotion. This tool is relatively new for HubSpot and it does have a few limitations, but we've had amazing success utilizing this resource. Learn more about it in our blog post New Leads in Minutes – Building Your First HubSpot Lead Flow.
6. Birds Chirp, The Sun Shines. Are You Paying Attention to the Analytics Warning Signs?
I didn’t intend for this blog to take such a dark turn... but here we are. Perhaps there aren’t warning signs, but there’s never a point during the year you shouldn’t be reviewing the analytics. Analytics goes beyond clicks, opens, and website views; it’s about understanding these metrics as they relate to your larger business goals. In fact, we've written a three part series on how to properly utilize HubSpot analytics.
Take the time to review your goals from the beginning of your marketing program. Determine if you’ve reached these goals or if they need reworking. In the beginning of any new agency relationship, we discuss goals with our clients – but as your business learns more about marketing, it’s common for your goals to change.
Over time with additional analytics, you can be sure your goals are realistic based on the success you’ve had so far. If you’re already working with an agency or marketing manager, be sure to share these goals with your team. It’s hard for marketing to reach your objectives if the marketing team isn’t clear on what they are.
Another Blog Post Comes to an End – and With These Tips, Your Marketing Program Will Mend.
Spring cleaning is the perfect opportunity to get your marketing program running like a fine-tuned machine. Here's a recap of the resouces mentioned in this article that will help you get started and take care of tip #6.
- Never Heard of 'Graymail'? Here's What You Need to Know
- 10 Examples of Email Re-engagement Campaigns You’ll Want to Steal
- HubSpot Content Settings – Academy Article
- New Leads in Minutes – Building Your First HubSpot Lead Flow
- 4 Blog Strategy Tips for Updating Old Posts
- Why We Love HubSpot Analytics (Part 1) – The HubSpot Sources Report
And don’t forget, if you have any questions about maximizing your marketing, reach out to us! At Precision Marketing Group, we consider ourselves to be spring cleaning experts… just don’t show up to our houses unannounced.