January is a great month to make plans for the coming year – the office is quiet, the clients are still on holiday and well, no-one is expecting you to send a campaign or launch a site right at this instant. Alongside working out your schedule for the quarter, how about setting a new year’s resolution? We chose our 3 favorite resolutions as sent in by you via our Facebook fan page and the forums, then looked at how we can use these resolutions to improve your email marketing strategy in the year ahead.
Soon after starting our poll, we received this practical resolution:
“Send a monthly email featuring promotions and news to keep my clients informed and attract new business.”
The new year is a great time to offer a regular newsletter to your clients – if you’ve got a client database stored in your CRM software, or simply a list of contacts who have purchased from you in the last 2 years, then it’s also pretty easy. We recommend that you send an introductory email first, with details as to what the newsletters will contain and how regular they will be, as well as a link to opt-in via a form.
This introductory process is especially important if you haven’t heard from some of your clients in a while. Sending an email of this nature will get your brand back on their radar by offering your client value, instead of a sales pitch.
It’s well worth considering at this point what the aim of your newsletter will be. Are you planning to inform your clients of interesting ways to use your services, provide industry news, or talk about projects you have recently completed? Monthly newsletters are a great opportunity for you to put yourself in a position of thought leadership and work well in conjunction with a blog. If you find yourself writing useful insights and tutorials, or presenting examples of interesting client work in your company or personal blog, why not share these with your clients in a monthly newsletter? Not only will your clients respect your expertise, but they will be sure to share your blog and newsletter with their colleagues, too.
Do you find yourself putting your email newsletter on the backburner, especially during busy periods? Do you feel like you’re starting from scratch on each of your client campaigns? This resolution may have come from you:
“Be more consistent in sending my own email newsletters besides those I manage for my clients.”
Consistency isn’t simply about sending a newsletter at regular intervals, it’s about planning. Planning to make processes reproducible and ensure that tasks are completed with less effort each time. Here are a few tips:
- Plan to send at roughly the same time each week/month. If you’re sending a weekly catalogue or promotion, create a sense of anticipation by sending it at the same time each week. If you’re sending a monthly newsletter, pick the same date each month and gradually work towards building your newsletter. Like college assignments, sending a campaign is always too much work if you start the night before it’s due.
- Plan to make it easier each time. Consider using HTML email templates instead of coding from scratch. We’ve got 30+ free templates, plus there’s oodles of themes and layouts to choose from over at ThemeForest. Once you’ve customized a template with your branding, it’s very easy to drop in content time and time again using our visual editor.
- Plan to use similar content. One of my favorite mailing lists to which I subscribe belongs to a local airline that sends its members a list of discount fares at roughly the same time week. I always look forward to receiving this newsletter, because I know exactly what it will contain – great airfare deals. In the same spirit, create content that your subscribers can happily anticipate. Feature a regular promotion, or a catchy round-up of relevant news. Maintain a consistent tone, or voice in each of your communications – we’ve got a great article on writing effective email copy that can assist you with this.
Talk to your clients about what they feel works and doesn’t work in their current email campaigns and compare this with what you’ve learnt from campaign reports. See what you can use more regularly in your campaigns, or cut out all together. You shouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel each time you send.
Finally, another solid resolution for those working towards getting more out of their campaigns:
“Work with clients to segment their lists and deliver more relevant messaging.”
If your clients suggest tactics or strategy to get greater responses from their campaigns, while sending less email, then you certainly have smart clients. However, in my experience, a lot of folks are quite content to email the happiness out of their subscribers, with the inevitable outcome being flagging responses or worse, list fatigue. Make time to educate your clients about email marketing best practice and how they can deliver awesome results, either by using targeted content and segments, A/B split testing, changing the frequency of their campaigns or using email in conjunction with other marketing channels. Not only will this make you look really good, but your clients will feel more at ease if they can understand how email marketing works, too.
Thank you for all your resolutions – especially the ones that involved colorful socks. If you have a new years’ resolution that you would like to share, please add it to the comments below. We wish you ongoing success in the new year!