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5 Strategies to Keep the Spirit of Email Deliverability this Holiday Season

Written on
Nov 19, 2013 
Author
Evan Burke  |


ADOTAS — The marketer, with his marketer-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without spammy gimmicks. It came without misleading subject lines. It came without excessive punctuation, red text and incomplete information. And the marketer puzzled and puzzled until his puzzler was sore. Then the marketer thought of something he hadn’t before. What if email deliverability, he thought, doesn’t come from an algorithm? What if deliverability, perhaps, takes a little bit more?


As email marketers start decking their holiday emails, it’s important to keep in mind that deliverability is the foundation for a successful email marketing program. But it has less to do with what words and font colors you use, and more to do with how you engage your customers.

While solving the deliverability puzzle may seem daunting, it is the giving season which is why I’ve put together five strategies that go beyond the basics to ensure that deliverability issues don’t dampen your holiday spirit.

  1. A good reputation will keep you off the naughty list. Own your reputation! Most email marketers pay close attention to their IP reputation, using dedicated IP addresses to help make sure they don’t land on the naughty list by accident. But this holiday season, the ISP elves will be paying closer attention to domain reputation, and in some cases will prioritize it. Under domain-based reputation monitoring, ISPs may combine reputation across all email messages from your company or domain. Keep this under control by making sure you have a custom domain rather than a shared one. And make sure your friends are nice, too; third party email content may get you coal in your stocking, so limit its use in your messages. With these tactics you’ll have more control over whether you end up on the nice list!
  2. Count your stockings. Managing deliverability means measuring it! Keep tabs on the same metrics that ISPs look at. Where do you stand on open rates, clicks, bounce backs, unsubscribes and spam complaints? And just as importantly, how are they trending? ISPs are continually tweaking and evolving their methods. By keeping track of these metrics you’ll have insight into where your emails stand which allows you to adjust your strategies appropriately.
  3. Watch out for email Grinches. Make your subscriber list and check it twice! Keep your email lists organized, paying close attention to the email Grinches in your list who are inactive – they might just ruin your holiday deliverability! So segment your list based off of activity – a good rule of thumb is to send emails less frequently to recipients who have not opened a message in over six months, and to banish cold-hearted Grinches who have never responded to your messages removing them from your list entirely. Not only will this improve engagement and reduce complaints, but it will also improve your deliverability with major ISPs and reputation systems.
  4. Pay attention to your subscribers’ wish lists. Open rates, click rates, response rates and user-generated spam flags are important to gauge the legitimacy of emails and their senders. Much like picking out the perfect present, the best way to increase engagement is to listen to what your customers want! So when creating your holiday messages consider this: does your message fit the audience’s demographics, behavioral patterns and personal preferences? If your emails are useful, informative and customized – you’ll drive engagement. Ultimately you want to create emails that your customers would love to open – if your recipients love your email, chances are ISPs will as well.
  5. Put a bow on it. Last but not least, don’t forget to deck your email marketing halls. Snappy subject lines, festive images and interactive content will help increase engagement among your customers. Come up with subject lines that will entice your subscribers to open the message and move them into the active recipient group. Creativity can go a long way in upping your email engagement, and thus your deliverability rates.

When it comes to deliverability, reputation, monitoring, engagement and creativity will get your message into the inbox this holiday season. Merry emailing!





Evan Burke is Global Head of Deliverability at Lyris. He spends his working hours building reputation models, looking at giant spreadsheets and providing expert guidance to clients who want to better understand the current state of deliverability.

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