The Obligatory Post About Email Resolutions For The New Year
It may be late January already, but any steps you take to improve your email program are always timely and will pay off throughout the coming year. In considering my advice today, I thought about how pertinent the average person’s New Year’s resolutions are to email. Without further ado, here are some resolutions you might adopt to improve your program’s results.
Lose weight. How do you know if your email program should fight the battle of the bulge? Dwindling response is one big clue. Over the holidays, I saw hundreds of emails that were too big and unwieldy to consume or act upon without having to stop, think, scroll, and figure them out. Bloat!
Your audiences, whether they are B2B or B2C, are overwhelmed every minute of every day with media impressions of all kinds. And like as not, they are multitasking while they’re checking their email. What they need from you are slimline emails that can be understood, in their essentials, in a single glance -- and what they see must be attractive, have personality, and communicate the key message instantly. If the preview has done its job, the right readers will spend more time with your email and respond the way you wish.
Get fit. Ideally, an email program has so much speed and flexibility built into it that customers or prospects always receive the right message at the right time – which takes strong business rules and a powerful email platform.
Only this morning I received a welcome email from a company that read:
“Thank you for signing up for [our] emails!
Enter welcome content here
This is a triggered email based on sign up.”
Cringe! The timing was good -- it came right away -- but this #EMAIL FAIL came from a very unfit system. Tune up your business rules, tone up your platform, crunch that customer data, and get your campaigns winning the marathon.
Get organized. What better time than January to plan your content for the months ahead? If you send e-newsletters, get the editor planning a matrix of story and promotion ideas, working at least a quarter in advance. Assign writers and get the wheels turning. A highly organized process will go far to prevent last-minute SNAFUs.
The bigger your organization, the more important it is for editors and other content experts to coordinate with media planners and promotional departments to ensure your email content is timed right, and messaging is consistent across all media.
Try something new. In January, many people resolve to learn something new or take a bold step out of their comfort zone, and so can you. Here are some ideas:
- Language: How about translating your emails into Spanish -- which is spoken by over 12% of the U.S. population -- and adding a choice of language in your preference center?
- Test new approaches to design, such as sending more mobile-friendly emails or simplified, large-print emails to seniors.
- Hand the reins to customers. Give subscribers the chance to select the frequency with which they get your communications, instead of just an on/off, subscribe/unsubscribe switch.
- Ask subscribers to take a short poll about their interests and build targeted emails using the information they provide.
Make new friends. What is the intersection of email subscribers / social media followers in your databases? Every email can drive a few more people to like you on Facebook, follow you on Twitter, download your mobile app, or share your content on YouTube, LinkedIn, Google+ or any of the niche social sites that appeal to your readers. Likewise, your social pages should provide a quick and easy sign-up mechanism for your email programs.
Another approach is to test the waters and see if you can find an intriguing way to use new platforms like Pinterest. Give your email subscribers a perk by telling them first about your new collection, and gauge their interest by click- throughs and engagement on the other platform. Voilà, you have just conducted a virtual focus group!
Get out of debt. Email is a powerful tool that results overall in great ROI. If your balance sheets are struggling, chances are excellent that a well- considered and well-run email program is part of the solution.
What are your email resolutions for 2012? Share them in the comments!