email marketing“If you bought a nice car two decades ago, would you expect it to still run well if you put in minimal maintenance?” asks Josh Nason in an article at MarketingProfs. “What about that house you bought two years ago? Lots of work, right?”

Well, your email marketing program requires upkeep as well, Nason notes: If you don’t take care of it, it won’t take care of you.

According to Nason, a basic maintenance plan must include action steps like these:

Hire an ESP (email service provider). “If you’re still sending emails from Outlook, give up,” says Nason. “That is the equivalent of using dial-up for your Internet connection—and you’ll deal with all manner of deliverability issues, lack of metrics, and blacklisting problems.” In other words, the cost of an ESP is worth it.

Build a custom template. “Generic templates often look like generic templates, so why are you using them?” he asks. “Your business is unique, so why squeeze yourself inside someone else’s creative box?”

Send messages on a regular basis. People don’t want too much email; nor do they want too little. If you go for weeks or months without sending a newsletter or an offer—something, anything—they might forget who you are and flag you as spam, he warns.

Study your reports. Your ESP can provide an extraordinary amount of data. “Open rates, click-through statistics, number of shares—it goes on and on,” Nason says. “But when was the last time you really delved into your reports to see what’s working and what isn’t?” There’s no time like the present.

If your emails are a flop, take a hard look in the mirror. As Nason puts it, “It’s pretty simple: Your email marketing is insufferable because you don’t care about it.”

Source: MarketingProfs.