Email marketers don't often find themselves with much time to reflect and think long term, given the campaign juggernaut that is often immediately facing them right after the campaign they just helped plan and execute.
Email never sleeps and 2013 was the year email ended all rumors of its demise, firmly replanting itself as the hub of all digital communication. That means email marketers have a short window to think big and blue sky; now is the time to do it, before the year really gets rolling.
In 2014, email marketers must ensure they make changes, improve, and deal with the opportunities in front of them. Let's start with these 5 resolutions for any email marketer:
1. Restate your goals & make sure they are related to your broader business success not just email success. Try to go all of January without mentioning your open rate as the first metric you site when asked how your campaigns fared.
2. Your mobile email game plan - mobile isn't knocking at the door anymore. It's sitting in your kitchen with its feet propped up and wondering how you will leverage this opportunity. It's not too late, but you need to know how many of your subscribers are reading your emails on mobile devices and how your email program is adapting (and not just from a creative standpoint). Everything about program should be thought about a bit differently because of the mobile sea change. Just stop and think how differently we all interact with email than even a short two years ago.
3. More focus on email centric content. It's not just cut and paste content marketing. Everyone loves good content regardless of where, how and what they are consuming. Think about some of the best emails you receive as a consumer; certainly the majority of them have great content, in addition to strong offers and a connection to a brand that you admire. Good content seems to live on the other side of the digital ocean from email, despite so many advantageous bridges being built. Even many strong, content-focused sites don't leverage that in their email newsletters, instead allowing the restrictions of an old template or siloed organization to prevent that from highlighting it their emails. I think the most successful email programs all have great input as it relates to content, as well as access to a wide range of relevant content.
4. Set up or optimize all of your automated emails. We do a lot of strategic consulting and during our initial discovery we often find low-hanging fruit that is ripe for change. Sometimes, these are as basic as welcome emails or shipping confirmations that have not been updated in years. Yes, that means the cross promotion (if there is one) could be highlighting that once red-hot Tickle Me Elmo that was the king of 1996 toys. You may also realize that you have no onboarding for new customers, or drip series for leads. In 2014, there are very few excuses to not have these up and driving your business in a substantial way. Refresh the content, creative, coding, and offers and rethink the entire automation process.
5. Network & learn. Everything in digital is moving so quickly these days that regardless of your experience, title or Twitter followers, we all can learn. Seek out some big, new strategic approaches and lots of tactics to test out, but our little email community is one that thrives on nurturing new relationships and developing future leaders. Go follow 50 awesome email people on Twitter, read their blogs and books, share these ClickZ email columns and do whatever it takes to increase your own knowledge, renew your passion and see where the future leads you. On that note, one of my favorite conferences, the Email Evolution Conference, takes place in a few weeks in beautiful Miami, Florida. Use this code for a special discount: SPK50.
On a somewhat related note, congrats to Dennis Dayman of Oracle and Zach Notes of Uncommon Goods for winning two prestigious industry leader awards that will be given out at the Email Evolution event. More info here on the awards.
The stakes are higher and email is more important than ever. Seize the moment and make it count in 2014! Best of luck and let me know what other resolutions you have in mind for your email program this year.
Meet Your Favorite ClickZ Contributors
Many of ClickZ's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Jeremy Hull, Lisa Raehsler, Andrew Goodman, Bryan Eisenberg, Mathew Sweezey, Aaron Kahlow, Stephanie Miller, Simms Jenkins, Jeanne S. Jennings, Dave Hendricks and more!
Simms Jenkins is CEO of BrightWave Marketing, North America's leading email marketing-focused digital agency. The award-winning firm specializes in elevating email marketing and digital messaging programs that drive revenue, cut costs, and build relationships. Jenkins has led BrightWave Marketing in establishing a world-class client list including Affiliated Computer Service (A Xerox Company), Chick-fil-A, Cox Business, Phillips66, Porsche, and Southern Company. The agency was recently ranked among the fastest growing private companies by Inc. Magazine.
Jenkins was awarded the prestigious AMY 2010 Marketer of the Year from the American Marketing Association for being the top agency marketer and the Email Marketer of the Year at the Tech Marketing Awards held by the Technology Association of Georgia. Jenkins is regarded as one of the leading experts in the email marketing industry and is regularly cited by the media as such and called upon by the financial community to provide market insight and consulting.
Jenkins is the author of two definitive and highly regarded books on email marketing; The New Inbox (published in April 2013 by ClickZ/Incisive Media) and The Truth About Email Marketing (published by Pearson's Financial Times Press in 2008). Jenkins is currently the Email Marketing Best Practices Columnist for ClickZ, the largest resource of interactive marketing news and commentary in the world, online or off. His industry articles have been called one of the top 21 information sources for email marketers.
He has been featured in Fortune Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Adweek, Bloomberg TV, Wired Magazine, and scores of other leading publications and media outlets. Jenkins is a regular speaker at major digital industry and general business conferences.
Additionally, Jenkins is the creator of EmailStatCenter.com and SocialStatCenter.com, the leading authorities on email and social media metrics. Prior to founding BrightWave Marketing, Jenkins headed the CRM group at Cox Interactive Media.
Jenkins serves on the eMarketing Association's Board of Advisors among other civic and professional boards. He is also a mentor at Flashpoint, a Georgia Tech-based startup accelerator program. Jenkins is a graduate of Denison University in Granville, Ohio and resides in Atlanta's Buckhead neighborhood with his wife and three children.
March 19, 2014