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Friday, January 02, 2009

One thing that worked extremely well in 2008 was email marketing. Despite continued issues with email deliver-ability, SPAM, and other issues commonly associated with email marketing, 2009 promised to be another great year for email marketing. Here are some helpful email marketing tips to ensure email marketing success:

1. Review what worked and what didn't work last year

Before you jump into your new campaigns for 2009, take a close look at your 2008 e-mail marketing successes and failures. If done correctly, you can repeat the winning campaigns and cut out the under performers. Ideally, you want to update your 2009 campaigns by combining elements of your most successful email marketing tactics and stop doing those emails that generated a negative ROI.

2. Clean up your e-mail lists

Maintaining a good list is a real challenge for businesses of all sizes, especially small business owners who often don't have dedicated staff to handle such tasks. Start the new year off right by scrubbing your email list before sending your first campaign. You'll improve your e-mail marketing performance, your reputation and deliver-ability rates. The first step is make sure your unsubscribe requests are up-to-date and error free.

3. Make an e-mail marketing plan and stick to it

One really great way to improve e-mail marketing effectiveness is to look at the calendar through your customer's eyes. Ask yourself what business and seasonal cycles are most relevant to your target audiences, then create an e-mail marketing campaign calendar mapped to those cycles. Putting in a few hours to plan out your key campaigns for the year will ensure that your e-mail marketing campaigns are timely and relevant.

4. Personalize your e-mail marketing campaigns

It doesn't take much to customize your email campaigns. As simple first name will do. You also can build more targeted, segmented lists based on additional customer data you may have. Even if you don't use a customer relationship system, you can still segment your lists based on purchasing data. You also can conduct a quick poll through your e-mail marketing service to gather more information from your customers that will help you improve the targeting, relevance and the timeliness of your email marketing campaigns.

5. Test new campaigns

Email marketing requires constant testing and evaluation. Challenge yourself this year by trying something new in your e-mail marketing campaigns. You could add a video or audio file, send to a new segment, or step up your split testing. Adding multimedia can make your campaigns more interactive and generate a higher response. Setting up automated trigger campaigns also can improve the timeliness and relevance of your e-mail marketing campaigns. It might sound too complicated or time intensive, but a good e-mail marketing service should help you implement this.

No matter how successful you were last year, there's always time to improve your results. Begin with a plan based on last year's success. Build on that and you will continue to see improvements throughout the year.


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