Wouldn’t it be great to finish up 2013 with a higher open rate and better results from your email marketing efforts? It’s not impossible. Here are five resolutions that will help get you there.

1. I promise to make my emails customer-focused

Before you sit down to write an email to your customers (and prospects), answer this question:

What’s in it for them?

You’re asking for a few moments of their precious time. Once they’ve spent that time on your email, they can’t get it back.

Here are some ways you can make your emails worthwhile:

  • Offer valuable information that will solve one of their challenges
  • Share resources they may not know about
  • Give them a discount code or coupon to use on a purchase
  • Invite them to something exclusive, whether it’s a private page on your website or an event at your location

Every email you write should be focused on your customer. It should meet their needs or offer something special so they close it feeling happy to have spent the time reading it.

2. I will watch my content/promotion ratio

There’s that “M” word: it’s the marketing part of email marketing that makes it so effective for those of us who use it to promote our businesses.

But for those who are on the receiving end of our email marketing, their inbox can feel like a bit of a minefield. Email after email comes in filled with promotional offers. It’s enough to make a person want to unsubscribe from all of it.

That’s where you have the opportunity to stand out from the pack. When your emails offer solid content that’s helpful, informative, and fun to read, your email marketing will be seen as a resource your readers will look forward to receiving.

Of course you can use email for promotions, too. But watch the ratio. Make sure most of what you send is good information. That will help keep people on your list so that when you send out the occasional promotion it will be well received.

3. I’ll use a personable tone

When one writes in the third person form, it is hard for readers to relate personally to one’s words.

Instead, try this:

When you write in second person form, it’s easy for your readers to relate to your words. That’s because second person form uses the word “you” liberally. And there’s no one else your readers would rather read about than themselves!

Writing in third person form is like speaking from a podium high above your readers. Writing in second person form is like grabbing the mic and walking around in the audience, interacting directly with your readers.

The inbox is a one-to-one, intimate space. Write to your reader like you would to a friend.

4. I’ll email consistently

If you want your readers to trust you, you first have to show up—on time, and on schedule. Decide on a frequency for your email communications, and set up systems so you can meet your self-imposed deadline every time.

As a rule of thumb for repetitive emails like newsletters, I like to tell people that emails that go out once a week or once every two weeks seem like newsletters. Once a month is barely enough to jog your readers’ memories about your business. And less than that may lead to unsubscribes, because people won’t remember why they’re on your mailing list!

Set up an email style that’s easy enough to produce that you can put it together on a regular basis. Then put it on a schedule and stick to it!

5. I’ll demonstrate quality and build trust with good design

Guess what your readers use to decide whether or not to read your emails after they’ve seen the sender and the subject?

Your design.

Your email design tells people immediately whether your business is professional and trustworthy. It also lets them know whether or not your email is going to be easy to read, or painful to wade through.

A well-formatted email that’s easy to scan is inviting and makes people want to dig in and read. For more on how to format your emails for readability, read this post.

If you’re ready to learn design basics that you can apply to your emails and all your marketing, get my free Design 101 ecourse.

Resolve to get better results with email in 2013

These tips are simple, but they’re not easy. Are you resolved to get better results from your email marketing in 2013? Let’s talk about it in the comments