If you’re an email marketer who relies on email to generate most, or even all, of your organization’s revenue, chances are you’re sending a very large volume of email each month.
Below are the key best practices that we recommend to our clients. They might seem basic, but don’t be fooled. These practices are the foundation of the most successful high-volume email marketing programs we’ve seen in our 22 year history. Follow them, and you’ll put yourself on the road to generating even more sales and revenue for your organization.
Okay, I’m just going to put this out there: the “Gmail issue” – that is, the ever increasing challenge of getting marketing emails to land in the Gmail Primary tab — is super frustrating! There. I said it! And I know I’m not alone on this. However…
Do you know who doesn’t hate the Gmail issue? Gmail, that’s who! And thank goodness for that, because they’ve given us all a reason to pause and consider how we think about our email campaigns, and what our subscribers want to know, receive and read.
That said, from a delivery and compliance perspective, senders can do a lot to ensure they get the best possible results in terms of where they want their mail to land at Gmail.
As you dip your toes into the waters of email marketing, you need to prepare yourself for the possibility that some of your email might contain content that people don’t want to receive. This is what ESP’s refer to as prohibited content. When you send a message with content like this — snap! — you’ll feel the jaws of compliance bite down on your email program!
Have you ever received mail from a company or organization, even after you thought you unsubscribed? Are you just having a déjà vu moment, or has there been a “glitch in the matrix”?
When this happens to one of your email recipients, they might think that your organization didn’t honor their unsubscribe request, which can result in your email being marked as spam, or even a direct abuse desk complaint being made against you. Trust me, legitimate direct abuse desk complaints are taken very seriously, and carry a lot of weight.
Are these continued mailings really the result of senders or ESPs not honoring an unsubscribe request? Yes and no! Let me explain…
Addresses from dead domains are like zombies. They exist in your list and look kind of like the real thing (i.e., valid addresses that you can send to). They may have been on your list for a long time, maybe since you started collecting addresses way back when. But, like zombies, they are mere shadows of their former selves.
When compliance folks like me talk about dead domains, we are referring to addresses within a sender’s list that are from domains which are no longer in business, or are no longer providing mail client services. Having addresses from these domains on a mailing list is an indication to any good compliance specialist that the list is in dire need of clean-up, or that the list owner may have purchased addresses. Neither of these scenarios is good for the client’s sender reputation, nor the ESP’s overall reputation.
OK, you can laugh at the title of this post (or even groan at it – I don’t mind)! But the fact remains that you need to find the right email sending frequency; otherwise, it can harm your relationship with your recipients, and ultimately hurt you as a sender.
Remember that slightly embarrassing email address you created back in 1995? The one that was a combination of your astrology sign, your birthday and some other cute innuendo? Yeah, that one. You’re probably not using it anymore, but that doesn’t mean that AOL (or any other email service) isn’t still accepting email at that address!
How can this be? Well, your old email address might now be a Spam Trap.
Verizon recently sent a letter to its customers stating that they would deactivate any email accounts that had not been active within the last 180 days (6 months). After that, any messages sent to these email addresses will bounce. But there’s more to this story.
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You’ve done the batch-and-blast thing. You know how to segment your list to get better results. And you know that getting more in-depth metrics and stats from your campaigns is the key to your success – both now and in the future.
So it goes without saying that you’ve moved past entry-level solutions. But what’s next?
For your eye-catching calls-to-action to get clicked on, your carefully crafted and targeted content to get read and engaged with and, heck, your messages even opened altogether, your email needs to first make it into the inbox. And it makes total sense: in order for your email to get interacted with, it needs to get to where it needs to get to in order to be interacted with there. Pretty basic.
But, sadly, there may be times when your mailings don’t get too far past the clicking of the send button, when their handshake with a recipient ISP gets refused outright.