It’s January, which means a time for reflection and resolutions. For many Americans, there is an urge to simplify and de-clutter. This includes dealing with our overflowing inboxes. Not only are we thinking about New Year’s resolutions, but many people are also returning from time away from the office which makes the email overload feel particularly acute.
This past week I heard several people remark, in person or on social media, about needing to unsubscribe to unwanted emails and tame their inboxes. Personally, I’ve spent considerable time setting up lots of rules in my Mac Mail to filter out less important emails and unsubscribing to unwanted emails and notifications.
Expect an uptick in your unsubscribe rate in January. And here are some tips to minimize your list churn and avoid the New Year’s purge.
Stay Relevant in the New Year
On the positive side, this time of year is a time for self-reflection and goal-setting. So people are receptive to educational and informative messages if they feel it can help them. If you create an offer or educational series that connects with people’s natural pursuit of improvement, January is a great time to launch it.
If you’re cranking out newsletters just to adhere to a pre-determined editorial schedule, but not really feeling any passion for it, it’s likely that your readers will catch that vibe and unsubscribe. This is not a time to send something out just to meet your quota, it’s almost always better to deviate from your schedule (and send less frequently) if it means producing something better. Just don’t put it off too long!
The most important piece of advice I give people is to put themselves in their readers’ shoes. This sounds so basic, but too many people think completely differently about what they want to send compared to what they’d want to read. They easily label other people’s email as junk or a waste of time, but never consider that their own emails may have that same perception for their readers.
A time to rethink and refresh
The new year is a good time to take a fresh look at your email marketing.
Examine the structure and content of your newsletters. For example, are the length of the articles and the type of subjects still working with where your business is headed and is it resonating with readers? Simplifying your approach by showcasing less content in each newsletter can be a relief to you and an easier-read for your recipients.
Consider delegating the work. Are you running out of ideas or interest? Writing an e-newsletter is challenging and if it’s feeling like an increasingly hard burden, you may want to delegate the work. If the newsletters are well-received, but you just don’t have the time to write them anymore, consider working with an outsourced e-newsletter service like Mail on the Mark. Your time may be better spent working on another area of your business.
Rethink how your e-newsletter connects with your web site and social media. Your e-newsletter, your web site / blog and your social media channels should all work together as a unified marketing effort. Ideally, this means less work with better results. Do you make it easy for readers to connect from one of these media to the next with linking and sharing? Do you repurpose content between the channels? Is there a consistent brand identity to all the pieces? Web sites and social media continue to change rapidly so take a fresh look at how you’re connecting these channels to your e-newsletter.
Finally, make sure that your e-newsletter is mobile optimized or responsively built! More and more, people are reading their email on their phones, but it needs to look good on their large monitors as well. People are much more likely to delete or unsubscribe to something that is challenging to read because of poor formatting. Even the best content in the world can’t overcome that!
Let me know: Are you unsubscribing to more e-newsletters this January, and how did you decide which ones got the axe?