Managing a successful email marketing program can seem daunting at first, so it may be helpful to remember that marketing is about creating and sustaining relationships.
The tips and tricks we all use to manage the interpersonal relationships in our lives can also be applied to how we think about and administer our email marketing measures as well. Thinking about your email list subscribers as individual relationships will help you foster connection, instead of just focusing on a bottom line.

1. Take time to understand what they’re looking for.

Misunderstandings happen in relationships, especially when they are new. Put an emphasis on opening lines of communication and asking for feedback. Make it clear to your subscriber how they can contact you if they have questions or complaints, and keep your digital door open at all times.

2. Listen.

The importance of listening to those you’re in relationships is frequently touted, and the same level of priority should be applied to your email marketing as well. But how can you listen to your email subscribers? By testing. Repeatedly.
The way customers engage with email is constantly changing. For example, customers are opening their emails on mobile now, and so an email design that performed well last year might not resonate well now if it’s not mobile-optimized. New customers on your list might not behave the same way as previous ones. As you acquire new names, you may end up with a completely new list that prefers receiving emails on Saturdays, whereas a year earlier your list preferred Monday emails.
When making important decisions, you should confirm results.
Keep in mind when you’re testing that if you’re working with too small of an email list, results can be misleading or statistically insignificant, and additional data is needed to make a final decision.

3. Take time to get to know them.

When you meet someone new, you invest time into getting to know them better. The same principal applies to your email subscribers. For example, if your open rates are struggling, a bad subject line is a good place to start the investigation. However, there could be other factors that influence whether your customer saw your email, including delivery rate, inbox placement [i.e. spam folders], and your “From" name.
When you’re optimizing for higher open rates, remember to take all factors into consideration.

4. Give them a second chance.

Relationships ebb and flow, and require some elasticity and patience. The same rule applies in your email marketing as well. Simply stated, resend emails to those subscribers who didn’t open them the first time. Why? Because consumers’ inboxes are laden with emails, and some of them are bound to be missed, deleted, or skipped from time to time. Give them a second chance to connect with your brand.
Now, it is worth mentioning that if a subscriber has repeatedly not opened your email for a lengthy time span [for example, 6 months or a year], it is unlikely that they will open any more emails from you. Take this into consideration when you’re pruning your email subscriber list.

5. Know when to say goodbye

As in all relationships, sometimes it’s simply not meant to be. Relationships are a two-way street; if there is no initiative from the opposite side, walk away. Sending emails to unwilling or uninterested subscribers is a waste of your time, energy and resources; lower the frequency, or stop sending emails to those who fall in this category.
This is important because a subscriber may have signed up for your email by mistake; particularly if you do not use double-opt in forms on your website, or if you don’t send confirmation emails. Additionally, if you incentivized an email sign up with a discount, freebie, or eBook, you may be sending emails to subscribers who have no interest in your product anymore.
Many people silently unsubscribe, meaning they do not actually opt out of your emails but instead stop engaging with you. A long-term test will be needed to determine the best strategy for lowering your email frequency or ultimately removing names from your list.

Remember, marketing is about building and sustaining relationships; if you keep your marketing user-centric, and build content that is helpful, informational and beneficial, you’ll see a healthy and vibrant subscription list that positively affects your ROI.

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