Email campaigns represent a crucial part of any company’s marketing plans. Huge efforts are rightly invested in developing compelling calls-to-arms and smartphone-friendly message templates, with a growing focus on predictive automation techniques like curated item recommendations based on previous behaviors.
However, these laudable aims will count for little if emails aren’t reaching their intended recipients. The proliferation of global spam continues, with an estimated 53.5%of messages sent worldwide falling into the spam category. And because internet service providers have become increasingly adept at filtering out unwanted mail, unsolicited email delivery rates are falling. It’s harder than ever to ensure corporate communications aren’t blacklisted and binned before they reach consumer inboxes.
Happily, there are plenty of things companies can do to maximize email delivery rates:
1. Embrace the double opt-in.
Recommended by leading mail handlers like MailChimp, the double opt-in involves more than simply adding a subscriber’s email account into a database. Registering a new address triggers a confirmation email containing a link. This has to be clicked before the user’s IP address and personal details are added to any marketing databases. Double opt-ins prevent accidental signups, confirming that customers really do want to receive your communications. Which matters because…
2. Minimizing spam flags is vital.
Whenever someone receives an unsolicited email, they’re entitled to mark it as spam. This is fed back to the consumer’s ISP, damaging the sender account’s reputation. A double opt-in helps to ensure people won’t label incoming mail as spam, while it’s also important to have an Unsubscribe link prominently displayed in the email’s header, not buried away in a 6pt footer font. After all, recipients rarely unsubscribe if messages are beneficial or interesting…
3. Ensure content is relevant.
That means low spam-scoring subject lines, such as “X reasons to [insert service]” or “Introducing our new [product]”. Relevance involves micro-segmentation of customer databases, targeting specific groups with offers based on purchasing and browsing histories. Algorithmic analysis supports curated recommendations, but only up to a point; a computer wouldn’t differentiate between a Burmese python and a Burmese cat if both were listed as Burmese in a database field.
4. Send messages individually.
The days of Bcc’ing one message to everyone are over. Automated email software dispatches huge numbers of messages one at a time, often overnight. It’s also possible to track response rates, identifying which link or graphic achieved the highest click-through rate. Statistics like these are useful for optimizing future campaigns, steadily increasing response rates. Email analytics tools also help to ensure spam filters treat the message as genuine, rather than a spurious mass mailing.
5. Choose the right time to send out messages.
Another way to maximize email delivery rates involves sending messages at optimal times. This generally requires a degree of A/B testing, though Tuesdays and Thursdays tend to achieve the highest open rates. Sending messages at 10 am seems to be the gold standard; 8 pm and 6 am are other effective times. There’s also evidence that emails sent at the very end or beginning of a month achieve higher sales since recipients are usually paid at month-end.
6. Maintain hygienic databases.
Database cleansing and automatic deletion in response to unsubscribe requests are unglamorous tasks, but it’s better to have a hundred clean records than a thousand irrelevant or obsolete ones. Quality over quantity is a mantra for 2019, as email moves into its fifth decade. While content remains king, email delivery rates are more crucial than ever in today’s mature online marketplace.
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