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January 20, 2015
Email Resolutions for 2015
 
Happy New Year! Even though we are well into January, I still think it’s an appropriate salutation!

If you didn’t start January with a list of resolutions — things you’ve pledged to do — then I bet you know someone who did. Instead of developing a list of behaviors you plan to change, how about a list of things you don't want to do? To that end, I give you a “Resolve Not To Do” List.

1. Forget to plan. Schedule out your emails in a calendar and detail who’s to get what message and when. Here’s a free tool from Hubspot that uses Google Calendar. And here’s a quick overview from MailChimp that’s tailored to the holiday season (but the basic principles are evergreen). Why do this? So you’re not hustling at the last minute to send a note out that’s half-baked because you ran out of time to do a top-notch job. Involve your entire team to make sure your copywriter, designer, e-commerce team — the whole group — knows what’s expected of them and what their deadlines are to send a top-quality email. If you plan ahead to make the most out of your email database, the returns will be that much greater.

2. Ignore the mobile market. In 2014, more than half of all emails tracked by Litmus were opened on a mobile device. This is a 500% increase over the past four years from how emails were viewed vs. desktop platforms. It’d be a mistake to assume all emails sent during “normal” working hours will be read on a desktop and that a lot of text in a small font size is OK. Here’s a primer from Campaign Monitor on responsive designs. MailChimp also put together a design reference for mobile emails. Check these out and remember this: “Thumb is the new mouse.”

3. Forget the new subscribers. A welcome series puts you in control of how your subscribers are introduced to your brand. These triggered messages are sent automatically once a subscriber joins your mailing list. Don’t start off the relationship with sell-sell-sell messages; rather, use this opportunity to educate the subscribers about your brand and tell them about other areas of your website from what they may have already seen. Here’s a how-to from MyEmma for creating a welcome series. Silverpop offers a few outlines for different types of series. 

4. Lamely acquire subscribers. A hidden envelope icon in the footer of a dense website isn’t going to cut it for adding new email subscribers. Pop-up boxes are more commonplace than evil. I can vouch for AppSumo (mentioned in this list) and Padiact. Any form should integrate with your email software program to deploy follow-up messages automatically. Develop referral incentives and use social media to grow your email audience. An email list is real estate you own vs. social media followers and likes, which are essentially rented from their respective platforms. Don’t be left at the mercy of others for communicating directly with your fans and customers.

If you can avoid any of those behaviors, I think you’ll be off to a good start in 2015. Have I omitted any egregious behavior? If so, please tell me below.

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Sandi Solow has over 15 years of professional experience in marketing, web content development, and media relations. Before focusing on email, Solow worked in marketing for a Big Four consulting firm and as a web content producer for CNN.com and CNNSI.com. She is a past member of the Board of Directors for the Atlanta Interactive Marketing Association (AiMA). Check out her blog at isendyouremail.com/blog. Connect on linkedin.com/in/sandisolow and Twitter @sandisolow.
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