By Alex Lustberg
With the holidays fast approaching, brands across the board will send email offer upon email offer to their customer bases. How can you assure that your brand’s emails are among the messages that actually land in customers’ inboxes and not in their spam folders?
In today’s ecommerce market, positive customer interaction makes all the difference when it comes to deliverability. To make the inbox, merchants need to execute their email communications carefully and effectively, in ways that appeal to customers and help them form positive impressions of brands. There are some key practices to put in place to better assure your messages meet the eyes of the customers and potential customers you seek to retain. Here are three tips to maximizing your deliverability potential:
1) Create great content. ISPs are increasingly looking at user engagement as a means of gauging the legitimacy of emails and their senders. Open rates, click rates, response rates and user-generated spam flags all matter, and to drive strong metrics in these areas you need to present highly relevant content with each communication. To draw customers’ interest, the content must tailor to their needs and desires. Ask yourself: Does this message fit my audience’s demographics, behavioral patterns and personal preferences? To find out, test your messages before you disseminate them to assess the impact of your send frequency, subject lines and other personalization tactics.
The bottom line on content is that it must spark customer engagement. If customers find that emails from your brand contain useful and desirable information, they will keep opening your messages.
2) Adhere to the law to steer clear of spam. Sending relevant content and developing a reputation for doing so are the best ways to ensure ISPs direct your emails to customers’ inboxes.
But while content relevance is king, there are also certain regulations that provide a threshold for legal compliance. The federal CAN-SPAM law applies to all commercial, non-transactional messages sent within the United States. (Commercial messages include any emails sent with the primary purpose of advertising or promoting a commercial product or service, including content on a website operated for a commercial purpose.) It requires three specific areas of compliance related to unsubscribe processes, email content and sending practices.
Beyond CAN-SPAM, marketers must also understand and adhere to state and international laws: the applicable legislation is that of the country or state you are mailing to regardless of where you are mailing from.
3) Keep your distribution lists clean. It’s important that the people who receive your emails are people who have indicated that they want to receive these messages. If you keep your email lists organized and free from inactive addresses, you will undoubtedly increase your delivery results. A good way to start is by removing all hard bounces after every campaign mailing. Then, take off any users that haven’t opened a message in six months. Simultaneously, it’s crucial to nurture new opt-ins by sending automated welcome messages that lay the foundation for strong relationships. Purchasing email lists and third-party data is not a wise practice, as it inhibits personalization—a key element of strong email content.
Finally, make it transparent and easy for users to unsubscribe. Making it difficult to do so encourages customers to flag unwanted messages as spam. Better that they don’t receive the messages in the first place.
When it comes to deliverability, it’s creativity, compliance and customer respect that will get your messages into the inbox this holiday season. With these practices in place you will draw customer interest, build brand loyalty and maintain a base of advocates who spread the positive word about your products and services, all in time for the year-end shopping bonanza. Happy sending!
Alex Lustberg is vice president of marketing at Lyris.