Five Important Deliverability Tactics to Improve Your Holiday Email Program Results
During the holidays, the mood for most marketers can be best described as hope mixed with a dash of uncertainty. True, it's impossible to predict how this season will compare to years past; but there are a few things you can be sure of: There will be an increase in email volume, it will be more challenging than ever to rise above the noise, and you will be expected to extract as much value as possible from your holiday email program.
While there are a number of strategic maneuvers you can take to address these known issues, one very tactical area of focus is critical to everything you do this season: Deliverability. Here are five ways to reduce subscriber complaints and avoid hitting spam traps—the things that make it difficult (if not impossible) to reach the inbox.
1) Check That List Twice
It goes without saying that sending relevant mail to interested users is a GREAT way to drive conversion. On the other hand, sending email to a list of subscribers who haven't heard from you in five years is a GREAT way to get sent to the bulk box or be blacklisted. ISPs are looking at engagement to help determine how to disposition email, and that old list is a huge red flag. If you haven't been in regular communication with your subscribers and you're choosing to leverage the holiday giving season as an opportunity to ramp up your outreach, start now, start slowly, and let us know ahead of time—we can help you avoid many common pitfalls.
2) Be a Good Little Drummer Boy/Girl
Don't let your email cadence throw your holiday ROI completely out of step. Before sending that additional offer that inevitably presents an opportunity during peak purchasing season, ask yourself if it is relevant and valuable to subscribers. Log, understand, and learn from what happens to your KPIs when you increase cadence.
3) Ask for a White Christmas
Make it a goal to get as many subscribers to whitelist your email program NOW—before your holiday program hits full stride. Use your pre-header to ask subscribers to add you to their address book. This always helps you reach the inbox.
4) Give the Gift of Choice
ISPs prefer mail that is two-part text or html. So offer subscribers the gift of choice to receive a text version of your message and the ISPs will consider it to be a little gift that sets your emails apart from ones sent by spammers (they often skip creating two versions of their emails because of the extra time it takes).
5) Look Your Holiday Best
A 2012 BlueHornet consumer study found that 69% of consumers delete an email and 13% unsubscribe if messages looks bad on a mobile device. Incorporate a mobile version of your holiday email messages. You can place a link in the pre-header that takes the user to a mobile optimized version of the creative, or use responsive design coding, where the creative adapts to the screen that the consumer is viewing your message on.
These guidelines can be used any time of the year, but they're never more important than now to ensure holiday email program success and peace of mind. And while these five tactics can be implemented by every email marketer, we understand that each business is different. If you're facing unique challenges that require additional deliverability assistance, please give us a call. We're here to help.
The BlueHornet Deliverability Team
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