It’s that time of year again – when everyone decides that they’re going to join a gym, eat more vegetables and get 8 hours of sleep every night. At least until the end of the month.
But whether you love New Year’s resolutions or hate them, it’s a good opportunity to think about the year ahead and even set some goals.
So, here are a few resolutions to help get your email marketing in tip-top shape for 2015:
1. Stop sending everyone the same email
If you’ve been anywhere near a marketing blog over the last few weeks, you know that targeted, personalised marketing is among the top trends predicted for 2015. Which means it’s time to stop sending the same e-newsletter to everyone in your database.
If you have been sending the same emails to everyone, start small. Create two or three ‘segments’ within your subscriber database, based on things like age group, gender and interests. Then, vary the content or subject line of your message slightly to suit each segment.
If you’re already segmenting your subscribers, try sending a targeted email to a specific group within one of your segments, for example, pushing a related product to everyone in Segment A who’s purchased Product B in the last 6 months.
2. Test one thing (and only one thing) in each campaign
This one is definitely on my personal list of marketing resolutions for the new year. Testing your email strategy and technique is key to improving your results. And it doesn’t have to be a complicated experiment. Try testing two different subject lines or the best time of day to send.
Most email marketing platforms offer some kind of testing capability, so take some time to explore the tools available.
Just remember to only test one thing at a time. Otherwise, it’s hard to know if that spike in click-through rates was a result of your bold call-to-action button or your stunning header image.
3. Optimise all emails for mobile devices
Chances are you design and create your marketing emails on a desktop or laptop, so you know it looks good on your screen. But how does it look on your mobile phone? Or your colleague’s phone? Or an iPad?
Your email’s appearance will vary from one device to another – and even from one email app to another. Enlist a few colleagues to help, and try opening your message on different devices to make sure it’s still readable, functional and looking good.
If it is a bit untidy or difficult to read, talk to your email designer, software provider or agency about creating a mobile-responsive template that will resize for different devices. Or, if you’re using a standard template through your email marketing platform, make sure you’ve chosen one that’s mobile-friendly.
4. Make it easier for contacts to unsubscribe
This one may seem a little counter-intuitive – why would you want to make it easier for your hard-earned email subscribers to jump ship?
Mainly because the people who want to unsubscribe probably aren’t engaging with your messages anyway. And if they want to unsubscribe and can’t find the link, or it requires too many steps, they might end up clicking the spam button instead.
By making the unsubscribe process simple, you should end up with a more engaged list and fewer spam complaints (unless, of course, you’re actually spamming people).
5. Clean up your database – and keep it clean
If you have a healthy marketing database and regularly run re-engagement campaigns to strip out old, unengaged subscribers – well done! You can skip this one.
But if you’re like most marketers, keeping subscriber data organised and up-to-date can be a challenge. So if you haven’t given your data any TLC for a while, start the year off with a proper clear-out.
Delete any duplicate contact records, and try to re-engage subscribers who haven’t opened or clicked in a while – then remove those who still don’t respond. Check that the data you’re collecting is relevant to your marketing strategy, and delete anything that isn’t.
Once your data is well-organised, it’ll be much easier (and quicker) to give it a ‘check-up’ a few times a year.
With a little bit of prep work, most of these tips should be fairly easy to stay on top of. So once the New Year’s celebrations quiet down, set aside a day to get organised with your email marketing.
And if you’ve made any other email marketing resolutions, I’d love to hear about them in the comments.
Here’s to a great 2015 – happy new year!