Five tips to improve e-mail marketing in 2009

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Here are some top New Year's resolutions to help small businesses improve e-mail marketing performance in 2009.

Clean your e-mail list

Maintaining a clean list is a challenge for businesses of all sizes, especially small business owners who often don't have dedicated staff to handle such tasks. Take the challenge and make 2009 the year to start clean by scrubbing your list before sending your first campaign of the New Year. You'll improve your e-mail marketing performance, your reputation and deliverability rates. The first step is make sure your unsubscribe requests are up-to-date.

Review what worked and didn't last year
Take a close look at your 2008 e-mail marketing successes and failures so you can repeat the winning campaigns and cut the under performers. Refresh your 2009 campaigns by combining elements of your most successful email marketing tactics to get even better results.    

Make a 2009 e-mail marketing plan

We're all working so hard and running so fast, many of us are accustomed to leaving our e-mail marketing campaigns to the last minute. A 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 top campaigns for the year will ensure that your e-mail marketing campaigns are timely and relevant - something your customers always appreciate.

Use customer data in e-mail campaigns
Many small businesses today use CRM and lead generation systems that are filled with rich customer data that can be integrated with your e-mail marketing service to dramatically improve campaign results. You also can  build more targeted, segmented lists based on customer data.  Even if you don't use a CRM 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 timeliness of your campaigns.   

Try something new
Challenge yourself in 2009 by trying something new in your e-mail marketing campaigns. Embed a video file or podcast in your next campaign. Adding multimedia can make your campaigns more interactive and engaging.  If you haven't used A/B testing to gauge response to your campaigns, give it a whirl in 2009. You'll be amazed at what you learn about your customers and how you can use that information to improve results and drive sales.  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 have the tools and technologies to make it easy for you.

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