With recent research from Mashable showing a whopping 65% of the 144 billion emails were sent worldwide being marked as spam, marketers must do more to make sure that their campaigns are classified as relevant, as mailbox providers continue to get better at diverting spam away from the inbox.
Email is vital for the revenue of most businesses, which means that undelivered email can have significant impact on a company’s bottom line. According to our recent SendGrid survey, 80.5% of businesses rely on email for sign-ups and subscriptions.
The best way to improve email deliverability is through better engagement, and there are several ways to measure this. Firstly, analyse the open rate of an email campaign. However, beware, this can be misleading, as a recipient is only counted if they download the images included in the message. Many users have image downloads automatically turned off meaning that they will not be counted, despite viewing the message.
Engagement can also be measured by clicks. This is the number of subscribers that clicked on one or more of the links in a message. Clicking shows an element of active participation in the email’s content, so if the click rate is high, it is likely that the content is considered valuable.
Recent interaction is also a helpful measure of engagement. This means the number of users that have interacted with the email in some way within a specific period of time, which, again, demonstrates the value of your content.
When analysing email, it’s also helpful to review your “this is not spam” (TiNs) data to see how many users actively clicked the “this is not spam” button. From this, it is possible to identify users who wish to discontinue receiving your email and those that are happy to receive it.
Finally, saving to folders is a useful measure of engagement. Retaining email by moving it from the inbox to another primary folder is a sign that the email’s content is relevant and wanted. On the other hand, mass deleting or a user taking no action is a sign of negative engagement.
When looking to improve engagement with an email marketing campaign, there are several steps that can be taken. Firstly, avoid sending email from a firstname.lastname@example.org address. Letting customers reply directly to your email is a key factor in stimulating a two-way conversation with your user.
Ideally, send campaigns from an email address that can be regularly monitored for responses, as this will incentivise users to interact. An easy way to do this could be to offer users a 15% discount if they reply to your email upon receipt, and then they receive an automatic message with a discount code.
It is also best to refrain from buying email lists from third parties to try and boost the reach of your campaign. Such third party lists often contain lots of bad email addresses, which yield high complaint rates. Instead, marketing professionals are encouraged to grow their own lists organically to ensure that campaigns are targeted. Sending even one email into a spam trap can damage domain reputation and it’s not worth the risk.
Finally, when it comes to formatting email, don’t hide the “unsubscribe” button and ensure that it’s straightforward for recipients to remove themselves from the list. It’s better for users to opt-out than to erroneously report an email as spam. In addition, always sign email to personalise it and make it clear that the content is not automatically generated.
To make the most out of any email marketing campaign, the key is obviously to send the right email at the right time to the right person at the right frequency. Also try to focus on quality over quantity, and only send relevant content. Listen to customers, monitor their engagement and react to blips in deliverability performance to improve your reputation.
Aaron Beach is a senior data scientist at SendGrid
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