3 Email Marketing Resolutions for the New Year for 'Net Professionals

In the world of email marketing, the competition is fierce.

A recent study from Return Path found that the average person receives 416 commercial email messages per month. That's about 15 per day.

With all of those messages competing for subscribers' attention, the New Year is an ideal time for an email marketer to review current practices and resolve to put his or her best foot forward in 2014.

1. CATCH UP WITH OLD FRIENDS - It's inevitable. Over time, everyone's email subscribers will become disengaged. Maybe their interests have changed, or maybe they weren't really that interested to begin with. Other subscribers may be unsatisfied with the quality of the content they are receiving.

Whatever the reason, the New Year is an ideal time for marketers to get disengaged subscribers back on board, actively engaging with their messages. Brands can isolate subscribers that have not opened their emails or clicked on links in the last 3-6 months and send them a series of re-engagement emails.

There are a number of win-back tactics to test. For one, companies can email a survey asking for feedback on their products or even their emails. Marketers can also send emails that allow subscribers to change their email preferences or that force them to click a link to continue to receive updates. It's always important to include calls-to-action in emails, but for re-engagement messages it's especially critical. Marketers want to ensure they can separate those who are still interested from those who have "checked out" entirely.

2. TRIM THE FAT - No matter how hard brands try, some subscribers are simply going to stop opening or reading their emails. These disengaged subscribers are an increasing concern because Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are beginning to factor engagement into email deliverability. This means that if a company's email list is full of people who are ignoring them, it may have trouble getting future emails to the people who actually do want to hear from them.

Marketers who have tried re-engagement strategies and have subscribers who still aren't interested, should remove them from their lists. In addition to the deliverability issues, these subscribers clearly aren't interested in their content or products. There's no sense in trying to sell to people who aren't buyers.

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Now, companies shouldn't purge anyone from their lists without a warning. A reminder email should be sent, letting them know they'll be unsubscribed unless they indicate otherwise. After about a week or two with no response, it's safe to remove them from a list.

3. READ MORE - We've talked a lot about subscribers, but email marketers also need to look at themselves in the mirror when they make resolutions. Companies that have lost a lot of followers or aren't growing as fast as those involved would like, should see if its content needs some sprucing up.

Revamping such a core component of a brand's marketing efforts, can seem like an overwhelming challenge, but marketers can start small by looking to others for inspiration. Internet professionals should subscribe to their competitors' email newsletters to see what works and what doesn't, and then co-opt some of those strategies to meet their individual needs. We should all get in the habit of reading a few relevant marketing blogs on a daily or weekly basis. They can be a great resource for tips and strategies.

The key to maintaining New Year's resolutions - whether they relate to a business or a waistline - is to set attainable goals and map out a specific action plan for achieving them. Vowing to clean up your list or start exercising is great, but neither effort will be successful if there is no plan. It's imperative to set deadlines and make these activities a regular part of a routine. That way, we won't be staring back at these same resolutions in 2015.

About the Author: Erik Harbison, CMO at AWeber Communications