Email marketing tips for 2014

email-marketing-tips-for-2014It’s been 2014 for a while now, and how is your email marketing plan going? If you are sitting high and mighty showing your chef the awesome ROI email marketing is delivering, then more power to you. If not, be sure to check out my email marketing tips for 2014. They’re extensive, easy to understand and apply to any kind of organization executing email marketing.
After all, email marketing is worth every marketing dollar you invest in it. But when you want to effectively run email marketing, it will cost time and effort. It’s all about the details and the way you execute email marketing campaigns. Do it just right and you will get positive results very soon.

Email marketing tips for 2014

The email marketing tips I put together below are not categorized, but should give a broad insight into getting things right.

Keep your list growing, don’t let it shrink

Keep your email marketing list(s) growing. Gather subscriptions everywhere where it’s possible. During a phone call, in stores, during events: it doesn’t matter as long as they’re opt-in. Your list will always shrink because of bounces and unsubscribe. If you don’t already have a plan in effect to counter the list attrition, then do so now.
Ask people when they buy your product. Ask them on Twitter. Ask them when filling in a form on your website – even when it’s not a subscribe form! Ask them when you’re on the phone with someone. Make it a process, and not a one-time event. Make sure everyone in the organization follows through in the process. If not it will not be delivering the results it should be.

One brand, one message

Regardless of how many marketing channels are available today, be sure to have a clear and concise message. People are bombared with hundreds or thousands of signals everyday. Don’t make it more confusing for them. Give more clarity: they will love you for it. Your email marketing campaigns should reflect this.
Don’t come up with dozens of reasons they should use your product or use your product more. The KISS principle applies to email marketing a lot: Keep it simple, stupid. Have rather one email with three items in there being sent more often, than one email with twenty items being sent less often.

Quality above all else

I’ve posted before on quality in email marketing, but I cannot stress it enough. I see email marketing mishaps on a daily basis. From A/B tests gone wrong to bad (or missing!) subject lines. From faulty images to faulty links. From campaigns being sent out at the wrong moments to being sent out to the wrong people (ouch). We are all humans. Humans make mistakes. But it’s worth the effort to minimize those mistakes. This can be done by having other people take a look at email campaigns with a fresh eye and mind. One of the best email marketing tips for this year I can give you is this: to keep and use checklists for everything. This makes sure you can’t miss out on anything -and- save time while checking things.

Integrate platforms and systems or lose revenue

It’s that simple. Sitting on a ton of customer and prospect data without doing anything with it means you will lose revenue. Integrate your email marketing platform or program with your online store or your CRM platform. Integrate with analytics. Integrate with your support system, your billing system, your lead management system…you get the point.
Without integration, everything is just a bunch of data. It only becomes information when you make it actionable. Make it possible to interpret data so you can find out trends. When it comes to using data however, respect people’s privacy. You don’t want to give your company or the whole industry a bad reputation. See more on marketing data governance in this article by the American DMA.

Work together with social, but focus on where your audience is

Social is great. Especially when tied together with email marketing. However, don’t get lost in it. I once saw a post some time ago titled ‘the 100 social networks your company should have a presence on’. Nonsense! You’d be doing a fine job if you’d have a quality presence on 3 or 4, not 100. How to select the social media networks that matter? Check where your audience is.
Where do visitors to your website come from when it comes to social? Twitter? Facebook or LinkedIn? Maybe Pinterest or Tumblr? How about YouTube? Find out and define where you want to grow. What can you offer people on those social networks that makes it worth their time and effort to follow or like you?

Ask people what they want…

When was the last time you asked your subscribers what they’d like to receive? Either via a form where they can put in their interests, or later on with a survey? If you’ve never done it, or it’s been a while, then now is the time. How can you offer relevant content to people if you don’t even know what they’re interested in? Just because they subscribed to your newsletters doesn’t mean they want to receive -everything-. Make your email campaigns tailored to their needs.

…but compare it to their behaviour

Saying is one thing, but doing is another. Being able to compare preferences and interests to behaviour means you have a wealth of data available about people. If you see that someone is interested in tablets, but you see him in email offers clicking on notebooks, then interest and behaviour are different from eachother. A followup email with more notebooks and laptop choices might be the thing for him. If possible, tie this with behaviour in your online store or on your website as well. The more complete a person’s profile is, the better you can service him with relevant content.

Share the knowledge

One of the best email marketing tips I can give is to share knowledge. Because knowledge not shared is lost. If you seek team spirit, input from others and understanding of the channel that is email marketing it is necessary. Talk about industry trends with colleagues. Inspire them with examples, ask for input for new campaigns. Maybe your best email marketing campaign is the one where you ask your customers how your company is doing. Not promotional at all, but it might give invaluable insight about what they think about you. This could help improve core processes at your company too!

Don’t forget to help people

Sure, marketing is all about promoting your brand and products. But it is also about helping people. They have a problem, and hopefully you have a solution. Help them, ask feedback about how you are doing and see customers become brand ambassadors. When is the last time you heard someone say ‘I love (yourcompanynamehere) so much, they really know how to make a customer happy!’ ? If you haven’t heard it at all, or if it was a long time ago, get to work on that. Some extra email marketing tips can be found in this post about email marketing campaign examples.

Looking back to 2013, how did your email marketing mission and challenges go? Hopefully well: if not, check it out for the challenges.
So, these are my email marketing tips for 2014. Hopefully they (or some of them) will be of some use for you in the ever-changing email marketing landscape. Also, if you have tips of your own, be sure to share them in the comments.

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