Posts Tagged ‘deliverability’

How hard is email marketing really? I mean, you get a list of people, take a blank email and load it up with pictures and words about your products and services, link to your website and send the email out right?

Um…. only if you have the intent to send really terrible emails that will harm your deliverability, and create a bad perception of your brand for your subscribers.  Email is still one of the most effective marketing channels out there and it can do amazing things for conversions, sales, ROI… if you put just a bit of time and effort into it.

However sadly most people take the ‘slap it together’ approach and this only serves to work against you long term. So seeing as I am always writing about best practice techniques and how to do email marketing better…. I thought I would do the complete opposite and list the ways you can do email really terribly to make my point…

aintnobodygottimeforthat

 

Below I list all the ways that are guaranteed to ensure your email marketing program dies a slow painful death:

Purchase lists and upload them and blast your emails out to everyone – they all want what you have, they just don’t know it yet!
Don’t bother having a mobile version of your email or incorporting a responsive design
Don’t bother including alt text on images to tell people what they are about, people should just download the images
Don’t include an unsubscribe link – these people obviously need to be receiving the information you are sending
Sender score? What’s a sender score? If you don’t know about it, it doesn’t exist, therefore don’t worry about it
Include merge fields and don’t check them – people don’t mind if the email says ‘dear first name’
Don’t worry about testing, it’s enough you lay the email up and make it look good, shouldn’t it just work?
Don’t bother doing any analysis – just a lot of numbers and mumbo-jumbo – just watch the unsubscribes
Getting someone’s business card gives permission to email them so collect, collect collect, and send send send!
Send emails without a call to action – the awesome information in your email is enough
Preference centre – what’s a preference centre? Just have one type of email and one list of people and they all get to receive what you send….
Don’t take the time to identify inactive subscribers – just keep sending them emails, they are probably just busy, they’ll open them eventually
Save out a previously sent email to create a new email, which increases your chances of you sending the email out without updating the links
Keep content boring and be sure to avoid anything interactive, engaging, fun or surprising, just stick to sending those limited time offers
Ask for your customers preferences and then disregard the data  - isn’t the point to ask people what they want, you don’t actually have to do anything about it?
Take all that stuff off the footer – it just takes up extra space and people can Google that stuff anyway
Don’t test in Litmus – it’s not important to see how the email displays in different email clients and mobile devices – I’ll just test to my email address and its good to go
Don’t bother checking any of the links in your email campaign, they’ll be fine…
Send a plain text auto responder welcome email with something bland such as ‘thanks for subscribing’ with no branding or important information
Personalise each and every email subject line and greeting with the persons name just because you have it – subscribers love that
Don’t include a pre-header link – just jump straight into the email itself – it just takes up space, why is it there anyway?
It is all about your marketing goals so remain completely centered on promoting your company and don’t worry about what the subscriber wants
Send as many emails as possible – if in doubt of the most appropriate sending frequency, just email away
Don’t bother including dynamic content (Dynamic content, what’s that?) Just send the same information out to everyone, too complicated to figure out  any form of personalisation or targeting
Include important information and links below the fold (The fold? What’s that?) so that people have to scroll down to the bottom…  people love scrolling
Don’t make it easy for your subscriber to click through to your landing pages or website, or find what they want, and don’t include an obvious call to action, and remove any helpful navigation. (Customer journey? What’s that?)
Make links really small and close together and make it really annoying especially for mobile users who are reading your email on the go. People love a challenge.
Use 14 point font, make some font bold, some italic, even comic sans and non web-safe fonts, and use lots of different colours to really make it stand out, the more attention getting the better
Strip out any recognizable logo’s and be very inconsistent in the look, functionality and branding of your emails from one to the next. Better still don’t use a template or use branding at all!
Even better, just stick an image into a blank email and send it out. No alt text, no template, no branding, nothing. Emailing your PDF flier out as one big JPG is a great idea!
Use a from name that you know who it is but is not obvious to your subscribers, like Barbara Smeath @idaily.co.nz, if you keep them guessing they will have to open your email
Best thing ever – to stop people unsubscribing, link them to a login page so they need to login to the account they made 10 years ago and have forgotten about to unsubscribe. It becomes so hard they don’t unsubscribe! Win!
In addition to that, forgo signing up for feedback loops or ignore the unsubscribe requests for as long as possible and send them more emails in the meantime in case they change their mind

After you have done all of this, be sure to include links to your social profiles so people can connect with you on there and share their terrible experience – just be sure to ignore them and bury those comments…

OK now we have had a walk down bad-practice lane, it’s honesty time folks – do any of the above points sound anything like your email marketing practices? Are you ready to step it up? Email the experts to see how you can dramatically improve your email program, improve your deliverability and make all your subscribers really happy!

inactivesubscribersShould you re-engage inactive subscribers or remove them?

There is much discussion around about re-engaging inactive subscribers, but I wonder should it be more about keeping your subscribers engaged in the first place? As I have been taught many times in the past, work to keep you current customers first and look after them instead of always hunting for new ones and forgetting about the old ones – that only creates churn and a huge list attrition rate.

In a world where everyone is always talking about list growth, it’s not a pleasant concept to have to think about removing people off your list. Most of the time marketers just leave old emails and unengaged subscribers on their list and keep emailing them even if they have never opened the last 63 emails they received or clicked any links.

After that amount of time I think it would be fair to say that they would be considered an ‘inactive subscriber’ don’t you. So what’s the best way to deal with these unengaged subscribers?

The thing is engaged subscribers mean higher engagement rates and better reputation and better deliverability.  But the flow on effect runs much deeper than just ensuring you are capturing everyone, as engagement is one of the factors that influence your reputation, and therefore your deliverability.

The ISP’s do watch engagement levels, however the effects vary depending on your list size and how often you email. If just a few subscribers aren’t engaging and you have a large list and send frequently it’s unlikely that would affect your reputation. However if you have a smaller list you will probably want to look a bit closer.

The best course of action is to analyse your reporting, identify the inactive subscribers, and send a re-engagement campaign – and we have some good advice on how to do that.

One great example of a client who is doing that is Muchmore, who send re-engagement emails to individuals who have been inactive for just three emails. For many of you it may be fair to say you analyse inactive subscribers once a month or perhaps every six months. Have you ever analysed the reports for inactive or unengaged subscribers after just 3 sends? Perhaps it’s time you started.

Want to take an even more proactive approach? Send such effective emails you keep your subscribers engaged before they start wandering down that inactive cul-de-sac in the first place.

You know when you move out of home and suddenly the washing piles up and the dishes don’t get done and the rubbish hasn’t gone out in a while? And you wonder how it got done before?

When you live at home you tend to take for granted that these things magically get done when you were not looking (Spoiler alert – your mother does it) and when you move out of home you realise that you now need to take responsibility and do all these things yourself, and by taking charge of these tasks you can improve the health and cleanliness of your environment. (Wow!)

Well I guess it’s safe to say most of you have learnt that one, however I’ve got something else to break to you; YOU control your sender reputation of your email marketing – not your ESP or mailbox providers. (What!?)  That’s right – your mother doesn’t work in your deliverability department. To improve your deliverability and reputation, you need to take some control.

There are five key factors that drive deliverability that you can control:
- Authentication
- List cleansing
- Relevant and valuable content
- Active engagement
- Continuous testing

Now I know deliverability can seem like a very complex system of things that need to be optimised and monitored and analysed and that can seem a bit overwhelming. However there really are a range of simple things you can do to improve your sender reputation, and your deliverability.

spam

What can you do right now?

- Honour unsubscribe requests
- Use a ‘friendly’ recognisable from name
- Send relevant content
- Set expectations

A poor reputation drives poor inbox delivery, however as you control your reputation, the sooner you recognise that the sooner you can improve it.

What exactly can affect your sender reputation?
- Spam complaints
- List quality
- Content
- Engagement
- IP Permanence

Recipients can complain because the email may not be of interest or relevance to them, perhaps wasn’t what they expected, perhaps they didn’t recognise the sender, or perhaps they are just receiving too much email or couldn’t find the unsubscribe button. Which is why having a recognisable from name, relevant content and a clearly visible unsubscribe link are SO important.

Firstly, spam complaints can be the #1 reason for decline in your reputation, and is the biggest indicator to ESP’s that your subscribers don’t want your email and this can result in your email being filtered or blocked.

inactivesubscribers

So what can you do to reduce complaints?
- Set expectations
- Honour unsubscribe requests
- Use a recognisable from name
- Send relevant and valuable content
- Enrol in feedback loops

One of the best things you can actively do to increase your reputation is provide valuable and relevant content that your subscribers want to read, the flow on effect being they will look forward to your email in their inbox and they will open, read, and clickthrough, increasing your engagement and over time that helps increase your reputation.

How important is relevance? 25% of subscribers said they have unsubscribed because the email wasn’t relevant. Well I think it’s worth listening to quarter of your entire database don’t you?

The implications of not being relevant are declining ROI and reputation and eventual increase in unsubscribes and/or complaints.

How can you increase relevance?
- Segment your data based on active/inactive subscribers, demographic, location, etc
- Implement a preference centre so the subscribers are in charge of what they receive and how often
- Send a survey asking your subscribers what they want – but be sure to deliver it
- Use dynamic content to change out content based on subscribers preferences
- Use personalisation throughout the email such as name, account number, points balance, purchase activity, etc

Now it’s no use having an email people want to read if people don’t receive it, so ensure you make it a priority to manage your list hygiene, and make that list as clean and shiny as possible. A clean list means you will be sending to actual humans – not spam traps or old inactive email addresses. It also means higher accepted rates, lower bouncebacks, and therefore better deliverability.

relevantemail
How can you improve your list hygiene?
- Review bouncebacks and correct invalid addresses
- Remove inactive subscribers
- Review your data collection process and ensure accuracy
- Grow your list organically – never purchase!
- Implement a double opt-in process
Then once you have implemented these strategies TEST, TEST, and TEST some more. Be continually analysing and testing a range of variables to find out what works, what doesn’t and what can be changed to suit your audience.

What are some things you can test?
- Email frequency
- Subject lines
- Email cadence
- Send day and time
- Personalisation in content

It’s important to get the frequency right because 54% of consumers say they unsubscribe when emails from a particular sender arrive too frequently….  How do you find the balance between too much and not enough? This is where asking your subscribers how often they want to hear from you can be the perfect solution.

Want some further advice? We have deliverability experts, design experts and experienced account managers at Jericho who can answer your questions – email us!

Gmail’s new approach to categorizing messages using tabs has begun its rollout and is receiving mixed reviews from marketers and users alike.  While many users are loving the new compartmentalised inbox, others are struggling with losing emails and are already switching their inbox back to the original look.

While Gmail is touting the transition to this new inbox layout promises greater efficiency for recipients, it could come at a price for marketers.

For those of you who don’t already know, Gmail has updated their inbox so that instead of the traditional approach of displaying all your emails in one big list, Gmail now organizes your messages into 5 tabs with the categories being Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates and Forums. All new emails that come in are automatically filed into one of these tabs, according to the type of email it is, and the users click through to the different tabs to view them.

Here’s a quick look at the types of emails you can expect to see under each tab:

  • Primary: person-to-person conversations and messages that don’t appear in other tabs
  • Social: messages from social networks, media-sharing sites, online dating services, and other social websites
  • Promotions: deals, offers, and other marketing emails
  • Updates: personal, auto-generated updates including confirmations, bills, receipts, bills, and statements
  • Forums: messages from online groups, discussion boards, and mailing lists

 

In terms of how Gmail is filtering these emails, Campaign Monitor says on their blog “…pretty much all email originating from mass senders are ending up in the “Promotions” tab, regardless of content. So it’s likely that this determination is based on IP/sender history, instead of the message copy itself. That said, Gmail does give recipients the option of re-categorizing email, so hopefully we’ll see this process developed in order to ‘train’ Gmail to accurately categorize email from specific senders”

Really this is just one move in the trend towards automatic email filtering, which is being adopted by email clients and users alike. Our deliverability team have been monitoring this and say Gmail has always made more use of subscriber engagement to filter inboxes than other ISP’s anyway, so this is a minor change in the scheme of things.

In fact Litmus also says this will have a very minor impact… they have recently posted the following statement on their blog -  “With the release of Gmail’s new auto-filtering inbox, many have wondered if we’d see a decrease in Gmail opens. However, looking at the past year of Gmail opens, we’ve only seen a tiny decrease (just under a 9% change, and less than a percentage point). Since Gmail’s new tabbed interface is an optional addition, my feeling is that adoption has been low..”

I personally am on team ‘tabbed email’. Since using the new tabbed email interface it has correctly sorted all my email into one of the 5 tabs, and I now find it easier to read, find, and take action on each email I receive. For example it is as simple as clicking on the ‘promotions’ tab to see all your regular email subscriptions – so unless someone was just to busy to take that extra step, there is no way you could miss any emails. It also tells you when there is a new email under each tab so you can quickly find and read it. The same rule still applies, that if you send timely, relevant, expected emails, your subscribers will continue to read them.

However, if you are still concerned, here’s a tip – you could advise your subscribers that the email updates you send them may be going to their Promotions tab, and that if they still want to see those emails regularly they need to either visit the tab or mark the email “not promotions” for the future.

We have always talked about the need to remove inactive email addresses from your email list. It has now just become more important than ever.  Yahoo has announced that they’ll be releasing user names that haven’t been accessed in over 12 months and making those names available for someone else to register. This isn’t a one time thing, but a new policy going forward which is in place from 15 July 2013.

 

Why is this important?

Scenario 1: You have a Yahoo user who has subscribed to your list with a Yahoo email… it becomes their email that all their mail subscriptions get sent to, it gets filled up with emails, and after a while they don’t check the address, and they never log into the account. Say a year goes by, and they haven’t logged in. So Yahoo releases that email account and a new person signs up for that old email address. Now a different person who never signed up to your list will potentially be getting your emails. You think they will just hit junk/spam or delete? You bet they will.

Scenario 2: Yahoo turns some of these old addresses turned into Spam Traps. Spam Traps are email addresses which are either never used or retired email addresses that are used to catch spammers and those with poor emailing/list management habits. If you continue email those spam traps…… can you see how this could impact on your deliverability?

 

What should I do?

Here’s the steps you should take for all email addresses (not just Yahoo) on your list and signing up:

  1. All new sign up’s should ideally be double opted-in. This helps to ensure it’s a live email address manned by a human
  2. All new sign up’s should be sent a welcome email or transactional email after they sign up. These emails should make it clear how and where they signed up as well as an easy to click and clear link to unsubscribe.
  3. All addresses that do not take an action (open/clickthrough/share/forward etc.) after about 6-9 months time should be removed from your list. Email activity is the key metric and you should be engaging inactive subscribers at the 3-6 month mark in an attempt to get them active again. If after six months of not opening, it’s highly likely they never will.

 

What should I be aware of as a marketer?

A Yahoo! spokeswoman said that between mid-July and mid-August when the old email addresses become available, Yahoo! would attempt to unsubscribe the old emails from as many commercial lists as possible and all email to those addresses would result in bounce messages. So one solution is to make sure you send a campaign out between mid-July and mid-August so that if it hits any inactive emails you will get a bounce message so you can then you can remove any old emails.

 

This new policy by Yahoo makes list cleaning a must for anyone who manages an email list.

Sources:
http://www.emailmarketersclub.com/forum/topics/another-reason-to-remove-old-email-addresses
http://www.magillreport.com/Another-Look-at-Yahoos-Email-Recycling-Plan/ 

Marketing Sherpa recently released the 2013 Marketing Benchmark report. It’s the latest and most comprehensive collection of email marketing research stats and insights in market.  We bought it and whilst we can’t reproduce it for you due to copyright reasons, we are happy to share some of the findings.  You can also get an excerpt of it here.

As Marketing Sherpa says, “email is a venerable tactic that is often dismissed as being too rudimentary for today’s focus on real-time information. Yet, email continues to endure, and even thrive, under such scrutiny, continually proving its worth through better delivery practices, more advanced design, and strategic integration with other channels”

A few of the key insights from the report are:

60% of organisations using email reported that email marketing is producing a positive return on their investment (ROI)

83% report they are involved with tracking, reporting and analysing their email metrics – yay – no ‘set and forgets’ around here! And the metrics that organisations track the most? Clickthrough rate and open rate are the most popular by far, both sitting at around 90% – the next most measured metric is unsubscribe rate at 75%.

It appears that content is still king – the most effective tactic of all is content and in particular for B2B marketers, whitepapers and other premium content was considered the most effective of all. As we have said before, it is still not worth sending an email unless there is content worth reading, sharing or discussing. And this is shown as a key goal as 67% report that the top goal for the next 12 months is to deliver highly relevant content.

And for the biggest question of all – which is the best day to send? Well the results are in! Tuesday (At 26%) and Wednesday (At 23%) were, by far, considered the most effective days to send overall.  We find that this depends on the business you are in to some degree – read our earlier analysis here.  Further, retail email with a mobile friendly design is showing good results when sent on a Saturday or Sunday.  We see that while the open rates may be slightly lower, the click through and action rates can be very strong indeed.

Despite the rise of ‘mobile’, 58% of people are still not designing emails to render differently on mobile, let alone mobile specific versions of their emails.  However that same 58% recognises the pervasiveness of smartphones and tablets and they expect that mobile will dramatically affect or change their email marketing program in the next 12 months.   And with the continuing rise of the use of mobile as our primary device, it is not surprising to hear most say that they realise all their email designs and strategies need to be revamped for mobile compatibility.

But mobile isn’t everything – Social Media is only 1% behind mobile at 57% as the next most important aspect, and most recognise social media as a primary communications tool and is becoming one of the main ways they interact and engage with their audience.

82% believe their list is growing slowly or not all.  Data ages, people change and your list shrinks.  Without a process for active planning for acquisition and a continual focus on growing your list, your list will shrink and the quality will deteriorate. Keep in mind that both paid search and co-registration programs performed poorly in comparison to other list growth tactics such as offering exclusive content or using the good old website registration page.

And in terms of improving your email deliverability? This area is lacking somewhat. 60% of you provide an easy unsubscribe process, (But that’s still 30% of you who don’t) And only 50% of you remove bounces, and worse still only 40% report they regularly clean their lists. There is some work to be done here!

What about triggered emails? This powerful area of email marketing often brings the greatest results however it is sorely underutilised. Just 50% of respondents report they deploy welcome emails. That is 50% of people who don’t! And most other types of triggered email activity are only being used by 19% – 35% of respondents. Overall, surveyed marketers did not appear to commonly re-engage subscribers, as just 15% indicated their organisations sent win-back emails, and just 9% sent shopping cart abandonment reminders. That leaves a lot of room for improvement.

One of the biggest things that may be stopping people achieving all their email marketing goals is the fact that 54% report inadequate staffing resources, expertise or time, as noted in this comment: “Our greatest challenge is time. We have been doing email campaigning for about 18 months, so we are still learning. We have a robust database but lack time and resources to mine it like we could.”

One other area of concern that came out of this report was a lack of capability to properly segment and target recipients, as little more than half of respondents indicated they could segment their lists by email engagement behaviour (55%) or purchase history (53%), and just 38% said the same about user-declared personal preferences. Even fewer (28%) could segment based on user device habits. “This is telling, as it shows a distinct gap between marketer actions, and the wants and needs of subscribers”

So what’s the bottom line? “Email remains a marketer’s most effective tool in terms of content reach. But, even the widest-cast net won’t produce results if your readers aren’t compelled by your content, or, even worse, aren’t receiving it at all. Proper list growth and management, alongside engaging, consistently delivered content, are the keys to maximizing email effectiveness.”

When someone receives an email they skim the From Name, and then the Subject Line in quick succession, which makes these two areas the ‘gatekeepers’ for each message.

If you are a marketer relying on email to communicate with your audience you need to get past these ‘gatekeepers’.

Firstly you need a From Name that ticks three boxes: it must be recognised, trusted and relevant to the reader right now.  An email from my mum ticks all three every time.  With a business it’s a little more complex.  Even if I know ‘Air New Zealand’ and I love travelling with them, this year I am on a tight budget and so right now you are not ‘relevant’ to me. I might think ‘I have no intention of being tempted into reading your email offers no matter how good they are, and I will delete every email you send.’

It’s good to bear this in mind when you review your email campaign reporting as there simply will never be 100% of your database read your message – I’m on holiday, the dog died, this report is due – basically life gets in the way.  I suggest a rule of thumb that the ‘top mark’ possible is closer to 75% so if your open rate is 35% then that’s about half of your possible audience – a great result.

From another angle, it’s good to bear this ‘triage’ behaviour pattern in mind when you undertake engagement analysis of your database – Who reads every email? Who has stopped reading?  It’s important to make sure the ‘zombies’ who are effectively dead to your brand are cleaned out on a regular basis for email deliverability, so we do actively encourage this exercise.   But.  Just because I’m not opening your emails right now doesn’t mean I don’t want you to keep sending them.  I may well just be on a tight budget for a few months.  Arrgggh!  Why does email marketing have to be so complicated!

Assuming your email has passed the above gatekeeping/triage process of the From Name, next up your reader is looking to the Subject line for indication of a value exchange that is in his or her favour.  Their time is worth an awful lot to them.  Your email must deliver more value in order for it to be open and read.  And so your subject line needs to hint at that value as clearly and quickly as possible.

To get a Subject Line right, there are many many many possible approaches to take. The subject line is often promoted as a good thing to ‘test’ and see if your readers respond better to a particular set of words, or tone.  The reason testing is good idea is that the answer to the question ‘What works best?’ is almost always ‘It depends’.  I have seen tests show more words work better to get clicks in the email, and I have seen tests show that less words work best.  Similarly I have seen marketers use a set format for every campaign of a similar ‘type’, and I have seen people change the format for every single email they send, to good result.

Focus on clearly describing the value that is within your email, and then make sure you deliver that value in a way that makes sense and is easy and intuitive to action for your reader.  We have written about good subject lines before – read those posts here and an older post about the importance of your From name is here.

Now you are fully equipped to get past the first two hurdles of a successful email campaign, how do you ensure it makes you lots of money?  That’s fodder for the next article or ten.  See you then.

If you follow the email marketing industry, you know that engagement is quite the buzzword lately.  But Engagement isn’t new at all. It has been a part of the filtering mix for quite a while. ISPs including Yahoo! (Xtra) Hotmail and Gmail are adding clicks, opens and other measures of user engagement to the long list of other engagement metrics that have been in use for a while. All these metrics try to do the same thing — figure out which messages are truly wanted by subscribers.

ISPs are measuring engagement and using it to decide who gets to the inbox, and who goes to the junk folder. In simple terms, the ISP is basically looking at whether or not your subscribers open, click, and in general, “interact” with you. If you send an email that mistakenly goes to the junk folder, then the subscriber moves it back out, you scored some engagement points. If your subscriber clicks your links or hits “reply” to send you a message, you get some engagement points.

Returnpath’s George Bilbrey says to senders:

“Treat inactive subscribers differently: This is probably the biggest change that most marketers need to think about. Mailing to a lot of inactive accounts may actually make your reputation look worse at some ISPs. Segment out inactive users and run a win-back campaign. If you cannot win back these subscribers, you may simply want to stop mailing them altogether.”

Over at Clickz, Jeanne Jennings had this to say about inactive members of your list:

“If these folks really aren’t that into you, they may take the next step and report you as spam. It’s like that shunned suitor who just won’t go away; eventually the victim will consider him a stalker and get a restraining order. Keeping inactive names on your list can open you up to blacklisting and deliverability issues.”

There is an art to deciding who is engaged and who is not.  This will depend on your buying cycle and the types of emails you send. It is good to use an email expert to help you make a matrix for your own business but there are some things you can consider:

Do you have strong calls to action in your emails – so that there is something to click?

Do you have a genuinely relevant and  interesting email stream, sent at least bi-monthly (6 per year)?

If you have a frequent email (weekly or more) do you allow people to control the frequency and type of emails they get using a Preference Centre?

  • From time to time you should dissect your email list to identify who have never opened, clicked or bought something from you. We call them ‘zombies’.  They bring all your metrics down, they impact your engagement measures and they don’t pay their way.  Try to get them to wake up – or kill them off.
  • Next look for who is in a coma – used to engage and now don’t.  Talk to them differently too.
  • Who is on their way out?
  • Who are you best responders?  Make them feel special, use them to spread your word, and keep up the good work!

There is much to this and a good agency can help you do this and come out the other side with a more profitable program.

And worst case is you get to kill a few zombies!

 

 

 

It is always a good idea to send out re-engagement campaigns to your inactive subscribers every so often.

A re-engagement campaign generally means you send a re-opt in email to your inactive subscribers to see if you can get them to re-engage with you, (And more importantly to see if they want to re-engage with you)  The main thing is you don’t want to lose these subscribers right? So how do you re-connect with them?

There are effectively two types of re-engagement campaign:

1. Re-activation:
Send this campaign if your recipients are still opening your emails, but haven’t made any purchases or taken any actions.

2. Re-permission:
Send this campaign if your recipients are not engaged in any way and you want to confirm whether they still want to receive your emails.

These are both great ways to help build your reputation, keep your list attrition rate down, keep email subscriber engagement up, and keep your list up to date.

Click here to see some great examples of email campaigns that will get subscribers engaged and buying again.

But apart from running a re-engagement campaign, here are a few ways to increase engagement that you can do all the time:

1 Use preference centers
They allow subscribers to control and customise the content they receive, and they provide you with data which you can use to further tailor emails based on a recipient’s information and preferences. It allows you to give subscribers what they want, when they want it. It let’s the subscribers be in control, and when they have control, they are happy, and are more likely to engage. (Tip: Check out this post on using dynamic content to enhance email campaigns depending on subscribers preferences)

2 Include a feedback link in all your emails
Allowing your recipients to give you feedback establishes 2 way communication, and it allows you to hone your content based on the opinions you receive. For example, if you are a travel agent, send a welcome home email and ask the customer how their trip was.

3 Use good send settings
Consistently use a ‘friendly’ from email and from name.  Subscribers don’t open email from people they don’t recognise. And it’s also important to note that reputation and deliverability is in part based on having good send settings. And never use a no-reply address. Never. Click here to read a previous post about the importance of your from name.

4 Include an unsubscribe link
Always include a clear unsubscribe link in all emails you send out. (This is one of the criteria of CAN-SPAM so is a vital element of all emails) Here is a cartoon that we featured in a previous post, which sums up how subscribers can quickly go from happy to unsubscribe.

5  Use personalisation
The level of personalisation can vary depending on the sender and the type of campaign. Simply inserting their name in the email works well – people like that. However you can vary the level of personalisation and do much more with it, depending on how relevant and how effective it is for your brand and the particular campaign. Overall, personalisation has been proven to help with open rates, increase your reputation, and the subscribers appreciate it. Show they matter to you and that you ‘listen’. Check out our previous post on personalisation.

6 Include a safe senders link
Always include an ‘add me to your safe senders list’  link in all the emails you send out. This means recipients are more likely to add you to their safe senders list, so that you get delivered to their inbox, which in turn decreases your spam rate and increases your reputation.

Bottom Line:
Always create engaging messages that are based on your subscriber’s preferences.  Content that subscribers find valuable and helpful will always succeed, and emails that contain only marketing statements will always fail.

And remember – ‘Be wise – personalise!’

More than anyone else in your team, you know email marketing is a key part of your marketing.   But you’re stymied by the lack of resourcing or budget.  Do you need help to show your business why to allocate more to your email marketing efforts?

Just in time, this new report from the DMA in the UK, a market similar to New Zealand in many ways,  proves the importance of email marketing and highlights some compelling motivators.  Add these to your budget report now!

THE BEST ROI

67% of respondents cite email as the tactic that gives the BEST ROI when compared to all other standard marketing activities, and almost double the ROI of the next best option which is online marketing.  Email clearly has a valued role in marketing, but does your boss know how it compares with other marketing tactics?

BUT… NOT ENOUGH BUDGET

The reported revenue contributions from email marketing are disproportionately large when compared to its budget allocation. Email drives 30% or more organisational revenue for 44% of email marketers, but it isn’t accounting for an equivalent amount of budget.

SO… WILL BE SPENDING MORE

In budget plans for 2012, 63% of email marketers are intending to increase expenditure on email, and only 6% are expecting a decrease. This alone speaks volumes and reflects the changing perceptions around the importance of email marketing. It has migrated from a simple low cost workhorse to a feature rich and flexible marketing tool, not to mention it supports a range of tactics and goals, and reaches and connects a number of channels and platforms.

BECAUSE…  CLICKS AND OPENS UP

Response rates to good email marketing campaigns are improving.  Opens and click rates are steadily rising – 67% of respondents said that open rates held steady or improved, with click rates higher again at 69% improvement, and conversion rates at 63%.

RELATIONSHIP STATUS = ENGAGED

In terms of relationship building, again email is the clear winner, voted by 72% of marketers as being the best marketing tool by far for developing closer and more enduring customer relationships.

RESOURCING

One of the key things the report highlighted was that the biggest barrier to email marketing success is the struggle around put time and resources toward their email marketing efforts. Many businesses have less than one staff hour a day allocated toward email marketing! So increasingly the value of agencies such as Jericho who have the expertise and resource to handle campaigns comes into play.

THE IMPORTANCE OF EMAIL

Overall, this DMA report really highlights the changing attitudes toward email, how it has gone from being the hot new kid on the block, to being the workhorse in the background, and how it’s come a full circle to being strategically important part of business and marketing as a whole.

You can’t put email in a corner.

You can download the full report here