5 Must-Do New Year’s Resolutions for Email Marketers

keep-calm-send-email-300x424Email 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.

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