Do Your Resolutions Help Or Hold You Back?

You've probably seen the Internet meme that matches up two photos: a near-empty gym labeled “Your gym in December” and a crowd of thousands of people labeled “Your gym in January.” Sure, it's exaggerated, but any dedicated gym rat will tell you it's true.

Something similar is happening in marketing departments everywhere as email marketers vow 2016 will be the year they address their inactive subscribers or launch a personalized, multistep onboarding series. Awesome!

Of course, they said the same thing in 2015.

What's going wrong? Why do so many email marketers fail to achieve or even approach their goals? Likely for many of the same reasons would-be workout kings still wear that extra 25 pounds.

Below are my top eight reasons why we fall short of our resolutions, plus some suggestions to help you move in the right direction in 2016:

1. You don't focus on your top priorities. Taking a Zumba class to look better in your swimsuit is good. But maybe reducing your massive credit card debt or rescuing a failing relationship is more pressing.



Similarly, you spend your time tweaking triggered emails that work well as they are, although optimizing your emails for the 60% of your database that is reading on mobile devices or reducing your massive database churn rate will deliver bigger gains.

2. Your goals are unrealistic. Your doctor tells you to lose 35 pounds. You want to double revenue from email. Both are great stretch goals. But, do you have the resources, budget and plan to make either happen?

You're better off setting realistic goals that management supports so that you can achieve and even exceed your targets.

3. You lack timelines, checkpoints or accountability. With annual resolutions, your completion timeframe is 12 months long. You're saying, essentially, "I'll get to this when I can, later."

Instead, map your 2016 plans in phases, quarters and months. Use realistic milestones to stay accountable. Structure your email projects with interdependencies: You have to get your Q1 project done to complete your Q2 email program.

4. You don't connect the strategic dots. It's easy to jump to tactics, such as working out three times a week, to shed pounds. But you might get enough exercise already by jogging or walking the dog. Instead, try changing what and how much you eat.

Similarly, you want to grow your email database 25% this year. But you also doubled frequency, which drives higher list churn. Reducing churn with more relevant, personalized email content might drive more than 25% growth and also boost revenue.

5. You aren't having fun. Your best workout approach might be cycling or hiking instead of going to the gym. With your email programs, find ways to turn a project you dread into something you'd enjoy by working with a new department, trying a new approach or testing something you learned at a conference.

6. You don't document or share your goals. Get your friends in on your FitBit challenge, and share your email goals with your boss, co-workers and staff to help keep you accountable for progress.

7. You don't reward progress. Progress is hard work and often involves necessary but boring activities. Set small rewards that align with your timeline and checkpoints instead of celebrating only at the end of the year. Rewards can include getting approval and budget to send yourself or a team member to an industry conference.

8. You lack partners. I had a tough time getting to the gym. Then, my teenage daughter persuaded me to buy her a membership. Now, more often than not, one of us will motivate the other to lace up the workout shoes.

This partner approach can help your email marketing programs succeed, too. Buddy up with other departments, such as customer service or your mobile team. Set mutual goals, and work together to achieve them.

Until next time, take it up a notch.

1 comment about "Do Your Resolutions Help Or Hold You Back?".
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  1. David Baker from Cordial, January 14, 2016 at 11:13 a.m.

    Very nice Loren!

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