Perhaps you’ve stopped smoking. Or, maybe, you’re taking part in January’s Dryathlon (no booze for a month). Maybe you’re finally going to get that bike out of the garage and make a start on getting fit this year…
Whatever you’ve chosen as your new year’s resolution, the very best of luck to you. However, I’ve got a few more, and they come in the form of email marketing resolutions for 2014! Read on and your campaigns will be fitter, leaner and healthier than they were in 2013.
1) Think 51%
51 may not sound like a big number, but as a percentage, it represents the majority. In this case, it refers to the number of email opens which are taking place on mobile devices. They are now the go-to devices for most people. Whether it be a tablet or smartphone, people are more likely to reach for diminutive devices rather than their laptops or desktop computers in order to check and interact with their email. That number is likely to rise again this year, particularly after a Christmas filled with tablet-shaped presents under the tree.
Forget ‘mobile version’. This year, you need to ensure your emails are responsive. They need to re-size themselves based on the screen on which they’re being viewed. If they’re not, you’re potentially going to starve over half of your subscriber list of your email marketing messages.
2) Reward subscribers
The likelihood is, your company will be using social media in some way. Few businesses aren’t, these days. Social media channels elicit responses from customers. If you spot a nice comment about your company, products or services, make the most of it. Ask the person if you can feature it on a future email campaign and reward them when they say ‘yes’ – give them a discount of some free resource which is of benefit to them.
3) Revise your template
When you get started in email marketing, the first thing you do is set up and email template. This may be a pre-packaged one which came with your email marketing software, or it might be one you’ve had designed especially for your company (I really do recommend doing the latter from the off, if budgets allow), but whatever it is, it could probably do with a refresh. Think – when you turn the TV on after Christmas, there are a flood of new adverts from businesses which catch your eye, simply because they’re different. It’s a new year, they’re saying something new and, consequently, you’re engaged. Do the same with your email – even if it is just a few subtle tweaks. It’ll keep it fresh.
4) Set up a publishing calendar
Let’s be honest, that promise you’ve made to yourself to not touch chocolate for the next six months may well fall apart when someone tempts you with a Mars Bar next week. However, console yourself with the fact that you will definitely be putting in place a publishing calendar for your email marketing efforts in 2014. Spend as much time planning your campaigns as you do constructing them and you’ll end up with emails which are relevant, timely and, ultimately, successful.
5) Set up some autoresponders
Autoresponders are absolutely fantastic tools, but it is possible you’re yet to make use of them. If you haven’t, start with your ‘welcome’ email. Rather than just sending one automated message when people sign up to your list, set a series. By doing so, you can gradually introduce them to your brand and products. Autoresponders do this for you without you having to lift a finger. Give them a go this year.
6) Start to ask your subscribers questions
Marketing, historically, has been all about businesses telling their customers what they should buy and the reasons for doing so. Email marketing offers a rather different and unique opportunity. You can ask them questions. Doing so will help tailor future campaigns. Ask them what they think of your emails so far, or what their opinion is on a certain product or service. Make sure you send your emails from an address to which they can reply (i.e. avoid ‘no-reply@’). Ask them, and they shall respond.
7) Learn from others – begin curating content
The web is full of inspiration. Set yourself up an RSS client, such as Feedly and subscribe to sites which are relevant to your industry. Each day, take a look at the articles which have been posted – I can guarantee you will be inspired to create your next email.
8) Consider implementing video
Video is one of the most powerful mediums on the web and it can work fantastically in email. This is particularly prevalent now with the seismic rise in mobile email consumption. Try sending your subscribers a shorter email with a link to a product demonstration or advert in video format. I think you’ll find your click-through stats will soar.
9) Stop copying and pasting
We’ve all done it. We’ve built a lovely web page or exhibition banner and we feel compelled to share it via email. As a result, we’ve got ourselves a new email campaign simply by copying and pasting from elsewhere. Sometimes, this works, other times it is simply lazy. Sorry. Think email-centric content this year. Believe it or not, it is often obvious when the content from an email has been borrowed from elsewhere. Make your emails unique.
10) Don’t forget the text-only version
I fell foul of this recently. Having finished work on an email, I couldn’t figure out why every test send was ending up in the junk folder. Then it hit me – I’d not checked the text-only version. When I did, I spotted a few discrepancies (software such as mailingmanager will always do its best to copy the HTML content into text-only, but it needs a human eye). Aside from ensuring you don’t fall foul of spam laws, making sure your text and HTML copy is the same is still a very important tactic. There are many subscribers out there who will view your email in text-only format, particularly if they are on the move (as we know, 51% of them probably are!).
Image courtesy of Vlado / freedigitalphotos.net