You may have heard pundits talk about how “email is dead” in light of new and emerging digital marketing technologies. However, email marketing continues to be an efficient, effective, and tried-and-true workhorse for marketers to this day. In fact, it’s hard to dispute the value of a marketing channel that reached a whopping 3.7 billion people in 2017 and is expected to grow to 4.1 billion by 2021.
Today, brands are sending more emails than ever before, especially during peak or high-volume periods like the holidays or tax season. One of the biggest challenges faced by marketers beginning to ramp up for the busy holiday season is deliverability — in other words, ensuring their target audience actually receives and engages with email content. After all, every email that fails to reach a subscriber's inbox is a missed opportunity — and wasted effort.
The trick is to implement email best practices today so that the right system is in place to ensure deliverability during high-volume periods. Plus, you'll have the added benefit of greater email impact year-round. If you aren't quite sure where to start when it comes to upping your email deliverability, here are five easy steps to move you in the right direction:
Have a plan. Avoid last-minute preparation at all costs. By understanding your available sending horsepower (i.e. IPs, MTAs), historical or planned volume patterns, and other timing variables, you can plan and execute a large volume of email in advance using all of the features in Marketing Cloud and in our other integrated apps.
Clean up your data. This is the only way to ensure optimal deliverability. Be sure you receive explicit opt-in permission from recipients before communicating with them via email. If you choose to go deep into your file or target your entire database, it might be worth running a re-permission campaign first — or partnering with a list-cleaning vendor — to weed out invalid domains or dead addresses up front. This is even more important now given the launch of GDPR.
Personalize with data. Use customer data intelligently to personalize and prioritize messages. Doing so almost always drives higher engagement. You can even arrange your subscriber file from "most engaged" to "least engaged" using email-first data like "last-open rate" and "click rate." This provides the best opportunity to build a more positive reputation (as a sender) right out the gate and ensure a higher level of engagement, overall — which is key as you work through or scrub older, less engaged subscribers. Other data points worth considering as part of your segmentation strategy include "last login date," "last purchase date," and "app usage" just to name a few.
Put subscribers in control. Let your subscribers opt-down, opt-out, select the types of emails they'd like to receive, and even choose the frequency at which they receive emails from you by using a preference center. Putting your subscribers in control of the emails they receive will improve engagement, reduce complaint rates, drive relevancy, and mitigate other deliverability issues.
Monitor, measure, report. Having visibility into email deliverability metrics is key to measuring the success and impact of your campaigns. Create automated tracking reports within Salesforce to keep tabs on your campaign at all times. And be sure to define a clear strategy on what to do if and when a deliverability issue ever occurs.