January 27, 2010

On 31st Dec every year, without fail, millions of people make New Year’s resolutions. Admittedly, some of the resolutions are just simply unattainable goals – but at least the good intentions are there. For some reason we all have this undying need to improve upon the previous year, be it emotionally, financially or health wise. In January there seems to be a mad rush of people doing things such as fleeing to gyms, going on diet and trying desperately to set out the coming year’s business plans. So, in sticking with this theme, we have made a few email marketing resolutions especially for you!

We don’t believe the below resolutions to be unrealistic. In short, they are really just a recap of important email marketing advice you may have ignored during that bad bad year of 2009. You may have read some of this before, but a little gentle coaxing never hurt anybody!  So, listen up folks, here are your email marketing resolutions for 2010.

1. Save money, clean out your mailing list

Out with the old, in with the new. Don’t waste your send credits on subscribers who have not read your newsletter in months. Some subscribers are simply just too lazy to unsubscribe; and others forgot about their subscription and now mark you as spam. Check your statistics and mailing lists to gather information and make a tactical decision about which subscribers to delete! If you delete a subscriber who is interested but hasn’t opened a newsletter in 6 months, they’ll track you down and subscribe again!

If you have attachment issues and simply can’t let these subscribers go; then send them a kind email asking them if they would still like to receive your newsletter. Ask them to give reasons as to why they don’t want your newsletters – you’ll pick up some great tips and hints!

2. Save time, make use of the advanced features

Is there a reason as to why you don’t take full advantage of the powerful advanced features on the GraphicMail system? Start using them, they’ll save you time and make life a whole lot easier.

A few advanced features:

Subscriber Segmentation: A powerful tool that allows you to profile customers according to criteria you have set. We have the tools that allow you to send a newsletter about animals to just subscribers who are interested in animals. You’ll have to test it to find out more!

Connecting to an external datasource: This allows you to link to your database and pull out information needed for your email campaign. This eliminates the need for you to upload your datasets and maintain your data in more than one place.

3. Save your “coolness”, integrate email newsletters with social media

If you do not have a social media strategy in place yet – get one! Start off with the two most basic and popular websites; Facebook and Twitter. With GraphicMail you are actually able to integrate your subscription form onto your Facebook page.

Include social media links in your email marketing message and gain subscribers through your own social media pages.  These are two free reach extenders that will yield fantastic results. It is rumoured that 2010 will be the year of the application and social media, even more so than 2009. Now is a good time to start and tweak your current campaigns.

4. Save face, monitor your stats, hard bounces and make improvements

If you get marked as spam, you get a bad reputation. To avoid this nasty occurance spend some time deleting old subscribers from your mailing lists as they could be marking you as spam. Analyze all of your stats carefully and figure out ways to improve your open rates. Try to personalize your subject lines a bit more and ensure you avoid using use key spam terms which include words such as “free”, “bonus” and “order now” . The only way you could get away with using these words is if you combine them with strong keywords. A big no-no is putting your subject line in capital letters. I also advise making sure your recipient/s know who they are receiving the email from. Do this by changing the “from” line.

To improve click through rates analyze if the design of your email. Are your links noticeable? Do they look clear and do they look like links? Also, give your subscribers a reason to click – use words that entice them.

5.  Save your image, engage your subscribers

There are numerous ways of engaging your subscribers – you just have to think outside the box! Focus on your content. Is it well written and funny? Or is it long and dreary? Your audience does not have all the time in the world to read your newsletter. Use bold headings in articles and use bullet points. It’s easier on the eye and simple to read. Use strong emotive images. A stretched, pixelated image looks unprofessional but ensure you have a good balance of both text and images.

Conduct a few tests. Send out a newsletter one month with a quirky subject line and look at your stats. The next month you do a send, make a longer subject line and cross compare.

Think about the time of day you are sending your newsletter. Are people going to open your newsletter at 5 pm on a Fri? No. Your faithful subscriber is probably halfway out the door and come Monday morning they won’t have the time to read a newsletter. Any later than that and they have forgotten about it!

Spend time working on your subject line!

6. Save your business, use new metrics such as the ROI calculator

An example of this would be to make use of the GraphicMail ROI calculator. Use it to determine your return on investment from each campaign. Simply fill in the fields in the calculator – the more accurate your numbers, the more realistic a result you will get.

7. Save your popularity, Get more subscribers

Offer viral campaigns, competitions and promotions to draw in the crowds. Promote these competitions on your website and build brand awareness. You’ll find your readership will increase!

Good luck with implementing the changes for 2010! Make it your year!

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January 26, 2010

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