Deliverability is both an art and science. The art part is all about how meaningful and contextual your email communication is and the science is the authenticity of your infrastructure.
Email marketing has the highest ROI out of all marketing channels and we all know that. But did you know that email didn’t start as an evolution of superior marketing? The origin of mass emailing started as spam back in 1978 when Digital Equipment Corp’s marketing manager Gary Thuerk emailed more than 600 clients over ARPANET to reach as many people as possible to let them know about his company’s new product.
“I knew I was pushing the envelope. I thought of it as e-marketing,” said Thuerk to Computer World in 2007. Thuerk’s email garnered $14 million worth of sales of the DEC machines through that email campaign.
However, in this age of personalized marketing and dynamic content, email marketing has come far from its not-so-humble origin. And, deliverability has played a crucial role in making email marketing the most effective and authentic channel to communicate with your audience. The art and science of deliverability are centered on your audience base.
Here are a few nuggets of wisdom to make your email marketing customer-centric and achieve great inboxing.
Segment your audience based on the action they took
The better the targeting, the better will be the engagement. Don’t keep your stakes on sending a blast to the whole list. Though there are times like a limited sale or limited offer period where you would want to target the whole list but do it frequently and there can be serious ramifications on your sender reputation.
Mailbox providers are continuously improving their AI to reduce spam. So, start segmenting your user base into small and targeted chunks to drive more engagement. Besides sending triggered emails, work on your audience criteria for sending promotional emails. For example, target your recent openers and clickers rather than targeting everyone who signed-up on your email list in the last two years or even older than that.
Also, frequently optimize your audience criteria or choose an ESP, which can provide AI-driven insights into customer segments for getting more bang for your marketing dollars.
Don’t set it and forget it.
Make sure that your new subscribers are also getting into the audience mix. Check with your email service provider to ensure whatever Boolean value or attribute they use is in place.
Pro Tip: If you have recently finished ramping-up with your new ESP, use the recent openers from your ramp and send a few campaigns to these openers for a few sends while carefully balancing your full-list sends.
Send time optimization: Trust data to customize. Don’t standardize
Are you still sending your emails using the traditional blanket approach your sales team uses? Or you defer to the benchmark studies on the best time to send your emails? The best advice I can give you is to either do an A/B testing to follow your benchmarks and what works for you or use an ESP that has a send time optimization feature to pilot your sends based on when your users are most likely to open emails.
And, the advantage is multifold. From deliverability perspective, your email sends will spread out in 24 hours just like your triggered sends, there will be no peaks in your sending behavior.
Pro Tip: If you are planning to split a high-volume campaign into multiple sends, you won’t need to do that anymore. Use send time optimization instead.
Send frequency: Don’t hack their inbox or be damned!
Indulgence is fun but you need to keep a check on how much is too much? Even if your subscribers have given you permission to send them emails, don’t blast them or they will lose interest and stop checking your emails. The unread emails from their inbox will soon make way into junk and will make a negative blip in your engagement and sender reputation.
Pro Tip: And if you can’t reduce the overall frequency, at least keep a different cadence for your purchasers in comparison to viewers and openers.
Preference center: Honor your subscriber relationship vows
Set your subscribers, as well as your own, expectations right from the start. Add a preference center in your welcome email for your new subscribers and give them a choice earlier in the relationship. And you can make use of the data to personalize your email strategy right to an individual subscriber.
There’s a lot of urban legend around the best practices for setting up a preference center but all that matters is to ensure that you are not asking your subscribers to wade through a bunch of categories to subscribe or most importantly, to unsubscribe from the different marketing streams.
Remember, email marketing and deliverability go hand in hand. So, it doesn’t matter which side of the table you are on; you need to work on both simultaneously. It’s your subscriber list, and your relationship with your subscribers that will decide your email inboxing fate – you are the brand!
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.