Common Email Mistakes That Will Haunt Most Professionals

This article was first published in The Next Web.

 
 

Navigating your email campaigns into your customer’s inbox can be a scary process. Broken links, wrong subject lines, using spam words – these spooky mistakes that can haunt an email marketer for weeks. If you dare continue to read on, we’ll identify these common errors, how to avoid them and maybe, just maybe you’ll come out of the process in one piece.

1) Broken Links


It’s always helpful to have a second or third pair eyes help screen over your work before sending (you can ask your friend that’s standing in the corner right behind you).

A lot of detail goes into these email campaigns and like any type of content, it’s harder to spot mistakes in something you’ve been working on and are really familiar with. You’ll want to ask colleagues to check for spelling and click links to ensure they’re not broken, are linking properly and that all call-to-actions make sense.

If you have the resources, using testing tools such as Litmus can be a huge time saver. Litmus tests for responsiveness, spam score and more!

2) Low Open Rate


There’s nothing worse than checking your email campaign stats to see that very few of your customers actually opened the campaign to read the content. Did they get caught by zombies or was the subject line just that bad? Either way, it’s concerning.

Brainstorming a strong subject line should be top priority since that’s the key to cutting through the inbox clutter. When brainstorming, refer to past data to see which words your customers respond best to and also read up on spam words (especially the lesser known ones) to ensure you’re not using any words that will hurt the performance of your email campaign.

3) Non-Responsive Design


Another terrifying sight for email marketers is an email with white space where the images are suppose to render. While your images may display properly on your computer before sending your campaign, image requirements vary between email clients and devices. It may not be displaying on other devices as you’d like it to. And considering how a recent study showed 65% of emails are opened first on mobile devices and 3 out of 4 users are “highly likely” to delete an email if it isn’t optimized for viewing on a mobile device, being third screen-responsive has become increasingly important.

Again, this is something that can be checked manually by a few team members or by using Litmus. If you do choose to check it manually, with the help of a few friends, you’ll want to check across browsers (Chrome, Explorer, Safari), email clients (Gmail, Yahoo!, AOL) and mobile device platforms (iOS and Android).

You’ll also want to work closely with your Design and Tech teams to design buttons and images of various sizes. At the very least, something you can easily implement yourself is ALT text. If an email client blocks images by default, your customers will see this ALT text with a description of the image and also be prompted by their email client to confirm that the images are safe. Another lesser known fact is that ALT text is picked up by screen readers, which helps impaired readers visualize these images.

We hope you have a hauntingly good time implementing these tricks into your next campaign! Let us know which other tricks you’ve used in the past and the results you’ve been treated with as a result.

 

 

StartupBus Day 2-3

Brussels equalled bed. What a luxury. After crashing on the floor of SpacePortX the night before, an actual bed was a nice surprise and even a few hours sleep recharged the batteries.

On the road by 6:30 am, we were heading for Rockstart workspace in Amsterdam for a combination of quickfire pitch battles with the locals (currently in a mini accelerator) and some frantic work with some solid internet (bliss!).

Rockstart did not disappoint and we were well fed and watered before heading to the Ballroom (yes the venue was fairly amazing) for a few talks, including from a member of parliament. It was nice to see someone at the forefront of policy talking openly and honestly about what they see as the speedbumps to a startup culture in the Netherlands, namely making it easy to obtain visas and how to gear a traditional (excellent) education system more towards creativity.

StartupBus Day 2-31

Hey Rockstart

Some pitch training followed and it dawned on a few this was going to take significantly more work to make the pitches slicker a teflon otter, not to mention that 3 minutes can feel like a lot longer!
By this point, prototypes were taking shape, 30 second team pitch videos were being shot, lunch fueled the Buspreneurs, coffee woke them up. Generally everyone had to be dragged away to the bus – “Just one more line of code and an upload…”.

Berlin wasn’t going to wait though. A mere 9 hours later, we rocked up to the hostel in Berlin, some grabbed food (I was suffering from ‘bus lag’ I think, not in the slightest bit hungry) and hacked the bar projector to host presentations for a late night pitch.

StartupBus Day 2-33
 

Some late night pitching


Much more definite than the first day, we had some really impressive introductions to the Startup Bus startups:

  • PageRank for people: a platform with an algorithm to correlate all of your social network contacts and make it easier to search and connect people with particular skillsets, experience, or goals.
  • One Pink Elephant: Using a virtual ‘mind palace’ memory visualisation technique (built for the demo in Minecraft!) to help you learn Mandarin characters, voice and pronunciation.
  • Activoice: A political issue tracker that allows communities to rally together and vote to promote important issues and manage campaigns to local politicians.
  • Clothesline: A brand recommendation engine to help you find and grow your personal clothing style.
  • Growth Engine: An integrated solution that customers can add to their commerce platform that incentivises users to spread special offers amongst their friends for even more discounts.
  • Vemotion: A video ratings engine pulling emotional reactions from facial recognition software. Get the best funny videos from the internet and miss the boring ones!
  • Letsdothis: A motivational social network helping you achieve your goals with the help of others on a similar quests, with incentives.
  • SeeVee: An interactive video CV (or resumé if you’re that way inclined) to help recruiters get their job questions answered and have a better impression of a candidate than reading a traditional CV,

Impressive as the pitches were, this was just the tip of the iceberg, as teams raced off to take on board feedback and improve the pitches. I could just feel it, there were going to be many, many rewrites!

Follow the action on Twitter with @StartupBusUK, Mailjet and me directly at @4thfloor_monkey.

 

 

Personalization techniques that win hearts and minds (and wallet!)

Imagine receiving an email titled “The Gift You’ve Been Secretly Hoping For”. You click through to find a personalized link to redeem that gift you’ve been hoping for this holiday. The only catch is… you haven’t told anyone about this gift and you haven’t searched for it on the internet. The marketing algorithm was just that good – it read your mind through your computer.

While email marketing today is no where as advanced (or as creepy), there are instances of personalization that feel just as invasive for consumers. It’s a valuable tool when used correctly – personalized subject lines are 22.2% more likely to be opened, but there’s a fine line to walk between relevant content and being big brother.

Don’t be a Grinch! Don’t creep your recipients!

Over the course of the past year, you’ve probably collected a wealth of customer data at multiple points; opt-in form, back-end purchase data, website search activity. Information collected from something like an opt-in form is front-end data and very consciously volunteered by a customer. This is often their date of birth, zip code, favorite color. And then there is back-end data that is collected from a customer’s interaction with your website or product; tracking where customers forgot to continue their purchase or action, or tracking which products customers spent most time looking at.
Personalize with more general information – a friendly reminder that they left some items in their shopping cart – and shy away from more specific information that a customer might have a hard time understanding where it came from, like data pulled from their IP address.

Know your customers

If you’re using personalization in your campaigns, you’re already ahead of the game. You know and value that no two customers are the same. In that same sense, not all customers respond to personalized content the same way.
Test new personalization techniques with smaller portions of your contact list. Know that more tech savvy customers are more likely to be familiar with cookies and targeted ads, making them more comfortable with personalized content. Less tech savvy customers may even be thrown off by seeing their name in a subject line! It’s all about testing and keeping your customers’ preferences in mind.
Personalization techniques that win hearts and minds (and wallet!)
Of course, you want to distinguish yourself from your competitors, who are already personalizing their email content. That’s where the psychographic data (tastes, interests and preferences of your contacts that you’ll have collected with your online form) and the behavioral interests (the way customers behave on your website) comes into play.
Knowing your customers’ preferences well, you can easily predict what other types of products/services they will be interested in. One of your customers bought pacifiers, a cradle and baby clothes last year? A year later, it might be time to suggest educational toys and toddler attire.

Use a little psychology

One last tip for the road: when personalizing offers, don’t overwhelm your recipient. A handful of precise choices can prove more effective than trying to do everything with one message. With smaller more meaningful hacks, you can keep a warm mom-and-pop shop relationship, where customers always feel they can find the exact product or present they’re looking for.
Show your recipients you care about them. Understand their needs. By taking smaller steps and not being too pushy, you’ll build a strong, lasting relationship.
Stay tuned for more ecommerce email tips for the holidays! Next week, we’ll be talking about how to optimize content across second, third and fourth screens!

 

Want to define your email strategy to win customers over this holiday season? Check out Mailjet’s Ultimate Guide To Holiday Emailing.

Holiday Emailing Guide

 

Mailjet @ RubyConf – Obrigado, Braga!

Bom dia!

Mailjet’s DevRel team went to the first ever RubyConf Portugal event which took place in Braga on October 13 and 14. Spoiler alert: it was really awesome.
Do you know Braga? (no shame if you don’t – I didn’t)
Braga is the 3rd biggest city in Portugal after Lisbon and Porto. It’s about 30 minutes away from Porto (the closest airport) by car.

About the event

This was a 2 days conference on the theme of Ruby in Bom Jesus de Braga, a pilgrimage sanctuary on top of the mountains, with a beautiful park.
Mailjet @ RubyConf - Obrigado, Braga!
There were about 250 attendees from all over Europe, mostly developers.
The atmosphere was really friendly (I guess all these local beers and Porto shots helped) and the event was really well organized. Congrats to the staff!
For Mailjet, it was the first event in Portugal and a great opportunity to meet people there because we have heard great things about their developer community and have been excited to check it out.
As usual, the Mailjet Crew air dropped some pretty awesome swag to the event: mint boxes, eye masks, stickers… all got participants excited. More importantly, it created a lot of conversations around email best practices, deliverability, and our tech!
Mailjet @ RubyConf - Obrigado, Braga!2
We sponsored the lunch of the first day, which was really awesome: great food (& the desserts, OMG), Portuguese wine and a wonderful place. We got a lot of thanks from participants but the caterers deserved the credit!

 

 

 

 

Mailjet @ RubyConf - Obrigado, Braga!3

About the conference

The conference was both inspiring and instructive with 14 speakers on various topics (from APIs to Sales through FrontEnd and Search), one hour per talk, questions included. Depending on the presentations, it felt a bit long for some, but quite cool to learn a lot for others.
In his talk “Frontend Choices”, Alex Coles made us realize that in terms of front-end development, Rails has not changed since almost 10 years (created in 2005).
In parallel, the rise of JavaScript applications is obvious, so to keep using Rails, he suggests the following architecture to build your web app: an API from day one (with Ruby frameworks like Rails, Sinatra, Lotus.rb) and a front-end JavaScript framework (AngularJS, Backbone, Knockout, Ember) while using JavaScript tooling (Karma, Grunt, Gulp).
I definitely agree with this architecture: it has obvious advantages when it comes to be available on multiple platforms and make easier to open the API to anyone.
About the front-end choice, I prefer using a front-end JavaScript framework to structure my code (I’ve really enjoyed working with AngularJS), but I understand that some developers prefer to keep full control by coding in pure Javascript.
Mailjet @ RubyConf - Obrigado, Braga!4
I had a good time listening to Carlos Souza about building web APIs with Rails. It’s in my comfort zone, but it’s a topic I like and on which I want to improve my skills. Plus, I’m not a Rails developer, and it was interesting for me to see some other ways to perform APIs than those I’m used to work on (PHP or Node.js for example). However, in my opinion, what makes really a big difference between two web applications is not in the back-end (you can make great RESTful APIs in all these languages) but in the front-end JavaScript frameworks.
Mailjet @ RubyConf - Obrigado, Braga!5
Interested in using Mailjet with Ruby? Find our wrapper, available here on Github!
Also find more photos from the event here.

Coming back next time?

Definitely !
Obrigado, Braga !

 

 

Send Email With MATLAB

MATLAB is a very powerful engineering tool for simulations and computations.  For those who use it – and use it extensively – you know the power that it can offer and basically how awesome it is.

So, how do you send email through MATLAB?  Here is a code snippet utilizing their built in ‘sendmail’ function:

For the above code to work properly, first thing’s first — sign up for a Mailjet account here to access Mailjet’s SMTP server.  After signing up and verifying yourself, head over to your SMTP settings.  Here, you will find your username (api key) and your password (secret key) which you input into ‘my_username’ and ‘my_password’, respectively.  Lastly, change ‘my_default_email_address’ to the email address tied to your existing Mailjet account (if you just signed up, use the one you signed up with).
And that’s that!  Customize the email recipient, the subject line, and the body of the email in the ‘sendmail’ function.

P.S. If you wish to use something other than Mailjet, you can use any SMTP service – Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc.  Just fill in the aforementioned settings with the appropriate values from the SMTP service you wish to use.

 

 

 

 

StartupBus: Day 1

One of the first things I heard over coffee at BL:NK event space (just off Old Street in London’s “Tech City”) was “Well it’s a little bit nuts isn’t it?”.

 

StartupBus- Day 1

I mean who would try and go from zero to minimum viable product in 4 days (with change) whilst travelling from London to Vienna by bus? About 40 ‘Buspreneurs’, it turns out showed up for Startup Bus. Startup Bus, considered one of the most challenging hackathons in the world, is an annual event where coders race to build new innovative products over the course of a several day bus ride.

By 11 am on the first day, the crowd was fairly excitable and rowdy, all greeted and kept in check by Alejandro, River and Kosta, a good chunk of the Startup Bus team.

Once settled, the Buspreneurs were teeming with ideas, trying to make connections with others that could not only survive the maelstrom of pizza, coffee and probably Red Bull, but also ship a product and present it in a shorter time than it usually takes to sketch out an idea.

Travelling with my Mailjet ‘wings’, I was there to help and mentor as many people as possible on their epic journey – no team for me this time. Although I love hacking things together, the chance to spend time with all of the Buspreneurs and see the enthusiasm: lows, highs and successes was definitely enough to keep me buzzing.

After a lot of food, coffee, whooping and cheers, we were on the bus, off to SpacePortX, one of THE tech hubs and co-working spaces of the North of England, in Manchester. With traffic, we arrived a little late, but hey, it’s not like there was going to be much sleep involved anyway was there?

SpacePortX gave us a fantastic and uplifting welcome from Doug Ward despite the fact he was ‘absolutely hanging’ (translation: really quite ill). Pizza and pitching ideas followed, with everyone looking forward to forming teams at a very early hour the next day.

StartupBus- Day 1 2
By the next morning (or a few hours later, in reality) pitches were solidified and people hustled together teams, with ideas ranging from motivational platforms for people who miss personal targets (not me, honest) to a memory training app, which had the distinction of being the only pitch I’ve heard where everyone had to close their eyes and visualise a pink elephant…

We’ve been on the road since 7:45am and it’s already well underway, code flying out and even the guy in the plastic viking hat looks seriously productive. Soon we’ll be at the port in Folkestone and we’ll leave England for Brussels (sorry France). We all know the Bus quite well!
We’ll all be tweeting about #SBUK2014 as much as is healthy and you can throw questions at @4thfloor_monkey (that’s me!) or @StartupBusUK.

 

5 Ways To Avoid Landing On An ISP Blacklist

ISP blacklist: also known as an email marketer’s worst nightmare. Landing on a blacklist means that you’ve been labeled as a spammer and are blocked from sending. It can be tough to get yourself off the list, affect your reputation with customers and cost you revenue.

5 Ways To Avoid Landing On An ISP Blacklist

According to Return Path, a surprising 20% of businesses in the U.S. have been blacklisted.  These are “white hat” email marketers who are not intentionally spamming customers, rather they’re sending relevant content to an audience that has expressed interest in receiving communication. Now why would they get blacklisted? ISPs have strict algorithms built to catch spammers, but sometimes legitimate senders get caught in the filter when testing out new techniques or if their security is compromised.

Most interesting of all, marketers are most likely to be blacklisted during the holiday season (November – December), since promotions are more frequent and marketers feel pushed to be more aggressive in their messaging.  Here are some points to keep in mind, especially as you are gearing up for the holidays, to help avoid landing on that dreaded blacklist:

1: Ask users to add you

The best plan of attack to prevent being blacklisted is to ask customers to whitelist you. Having your customers add your sender address to their address book increases your deliverability since ISPs will see you as a personal contact of this individual customer. An added benefit is that this is a way to get your emails out of the Promotions tab and into the main inbox.

2: Don’t use link shorteners

Link shorteners from bit.ly, Buffer and Tiny can be extremely useful in helping shorten long URLs (especially ones with tagging at the end), but can be detrimental in the eyes of an ISP. These shortened links mask the original URL leads, which is convenient for spammers in hiding the CTA of an email. While not all blacklists currently factor this into their algorithm, it’s safer to steer clear of these shortened links.

3: Manage Unsubscribes

Regularly manage your contact list to ensure it’s up to date and that all unsubscribes and bounced emails are removed from the list. Sending to customers that have opted out not only damages their trust for you, but also affects your deliverability rates. You can work with your tech team to automate this process. Mailjet’s Event API is intended to be used this way.

4: Monitor blacklist status

Another important item to monitor regularly is your blacklist status and sender score. Once a week, use sites such as Return Path or MultiRLB.valli.org to check your IP address against these databases and make sure that you aren’t blacklisted.

5: Read up on latest spam news

As spammers continue to fine tune their “craft”, ISPs refine their algorithm on a regular basis to combat this. Unfortunately we’re limited in our knowledge of what exact characteristics their tracking, but what we can do is to keep up to date on the latest deliverability trends, spam and security issues. Some deliverability blog we frequent are Magill Report and Return Path.

What other tips and tools do you use to stay off ISP blacklists? We’d love to discuss below.

 

Hacking Pediatrics: a weekend of enhancing pediatrics

Emailing + Healthcare ?  “Will this work?”, I thought.   Would hackathon participants successfully incorporate email into projects mostly hardware and mechanical based, sprinkled with a slew of government laws regulating communication in hospitals?  There was only one way to find out…

I just got back from Bean Town this weekend where Mailjet sponsored a hackathon called Hacking Pediatrics . Brought to you by many familiar names — some of which include Boston Hacking Pediatrics- a weekend of enhancing pediatrics1Children’s Hospital, MIT, Microsoft — the hackathon recruited participants from all walks of life.  This diverse and extremely bright pool of hackers lead the way for a weekend of some pretty awesome hacks.

 

 

 

 

The event kicked off with introductions and the itinerary for the weekend.  Then, it was time for the group to discuss which ideas they wished to hack on over the weekend.  After this was all said and done, teams formed consisting of doctors, nurses, biomedical engineers, developers; this diverse mix of teammates offered the groups great perspective and synergy that lasted throughout the event.

 

Hacking ended and presentations were gHacking Pediatrics- a weekend of enhancing pediatrics2iven — we saw a  wide range of solutions for a slew of different issues seen in the pediatrics field.  On top of it all, teams used a variety of programming languages: some for iOS, others used Rails, and one team even used MATLAB — (a la wikipedia) “is a multi-paradigm numerical computing environment and fourth-generation programming language.”  Basically, it’s pretty awesome for simulations and other engineering computations — for Mailjet!

Some of the teams that used Mailjet astoundingly:

BreathSMART:
Using a 3-D printed shell, an Arduino, a button, and BLE, this group created a connected device that mounts to a child’s inhaler and monitors the number of puffs administered.  If the child takes too many doses, it is potentially lethal to him or her and this is obviously a tremendous concern.  Enter Mailjet.
If a child has taken one too many puffs of his medication, the device’s iOS app automatically sends an alert to inform the parent so they may be able to take the appropriate action.

 

Crazy Moves:
Armed with an Xbox Kinect and MATLAB, this group gamified children’s physical therapy.  The user stands in front of the screen and the Kinect.  A friendly cartoon avatar (like an octopus, or other friendly sea creature) is then guided through a maze by the motions of the user, resulting in both a fun video game experience and a physical therapy session.
After completing the session, parents receive an email from Mailjet summarizing their child’s session and progress thus far.

 

 

Hacking Pediatrics- a weekend of enhancing pediatrics3

 

 

Transition:

Team Transition eased the burden of kids entering the real world of taking their nebulizer — (a la wikipedia) “is a drug delivery device used to administer medication in the form of a mist inhaled into the lungs” — medication.  Strapped onto an ordinary nebulizer is a sensor that detects whether or not the mechanism is on; thus, treatment is in session.  On the backend, there is an application that links to both the parents’ and child’s bank account.  If the sensor detects the child has taken his nebulizer treatment, a certain allotted amount of money — much like an allowance — is transferred from their parent’s account to theirs, incentivizing the child to continue their treatments.

After all was said and done, team Crazy Moves took home the Mailjet grand prize of Chromebooks!

Thanks for having us, Hacking Pediatrics, and I look forward to next year’s event!

Endnote: It was nice — I hadn’t been to Boston in two years, and having gone to school there, it was nice to be back up.  When I had some free time, I went back to BU’s campus, which has apparently had a lot of upgrades, and walked along the Charles River (If you’ve been to Boston and haven’t done this, you are missing out — very relaxing, especially during this time of year).

Tyler

 

Segmenting Your Naughty List: If Santa Claus Were an Email Marketer

The key to a successful email campaign is your contact list. But don’t just settle for one, generic list for your email campaigns this holiday season, look to the man himself for inspiration: Santa. After all, he doesn’t drop off gifts to all kids but follows his naughty and nice lists to send different gifts. He also needs to look over the different wish lists he’s receiving from children worldwide and split them according to interest and personal preference to know which gift to send to each child.

 

With our previous post about getting your contact list ready for the holidays, you’ve already done some serious holiday cleaning. This week, we’ll take a step further and focus on a feature that can help maximize the ROI of your contact list: segmentation. Instead of sending the same message to all of your customers, segment your list to narrow down your target audience and send more targeted email campaigns. The holidays are the perfect opportunity to leverage segmentation to make the most of your emails.

As you are putting together your holiday contact list, think about how you can use the information you have about your customers to create your own naughty and nice lists. Put yourself in Santa’s boots: what would you do if you had billions of kids all over the world that needed to receive different gifts, based on their behavior this past year?

 

Start digging for data

 

Essentially, there are two types of data you can use for segmentation: collected user data and existing user data, each offering different ways to be used for segmentation:

  • Collected user data: This type of data is captured with an opt-in form on your website, along with the email address when customers sign up to your mailing list. You’re probably already using a form on your website to capture email addresses, but you can take this one step further by asking customers to enter more specific and personal information about themselves as they sign-up. The type of information you would be getting here is demographic and psychographic data that can help you understand your customers’ interests and personality traits.

  • Existing user data: If you’re in ecommerce, there’s a good chance you’re already sitting on a gold mine of data about your customers that can be used for segmentation. Each customer that signs up and makes one or more purchases leaves behind valuable information such as what they buy, how often they buy and how much money they spend. This type of data can be characterized as behavioral data.

 

Build your  segments

 

The next question you will want to answer is what kind of data you want to use for segmentation. The answer to that isn’t really clear-cut since it depends on your business and how you’re planning to group your contacts for your email campaigns. So to determine the kind of data to use, think about what would make sense for your business. Consider if there are some obvious ways to group your customers based on different characteristics. To give you some inspiration, here are a few examples of the the kind of data you can use:

Segmenting Your Naughty List- If Santa Claus Were an Email Marketer1

With information like this you’re able to pinpoint the kind of segment you want to create. If you want to get even more specific about your segments, you can combine different types of data and create even more precise groups. For example, you could focus on only women that prefer shopping for shoes and that have made at least 5 purchases over the past 6 months.

Once you have different groups of customers with similar characteristics, interests or habits, it will be easier to understand the each segment and thereby craft messages that resonate well with each one.

Craft your message

Now that you have your segments, it’s time to put them to use. As you start planning your campaign, consider how you can create a message based on the segments you have created. Essentially, you want your campaign to match the segment you’re sending it to, so always keep your audience in mind.
To follow the different data types suggested above, here are some ideas of how you could match your message with each segment:
Segmenting Your Naughty List- If Santa Claus Were an Email Marketer2

By matching up the segment with a fitting message, your campaigns will be much more targeted and take into account the different characteristics, preferences and needs of your customers.

Segmentation is a powerful tool because it lets you slice a big contact list up into small, precise chunks. Also, you will be able to respond to the behavior and preferences of your customers and thereby create a much more customized and personalized experience for them.

 

Want to define your email strategy to win customers over this holiday season? Check out Mailjet’s Ultimate Guide To Holiday Emailing.

Holiday Emailing Guide

 

Spam: The Gift That No One Wants

There are some gifts that no one wants; the itchy, orange sweater your aunt knitted for you, the latest Nickelback album or a 12-pack of toilet paper. But here’s a gift that we can guarantee no one wants this holiday season: spam. As you’re starting to put together your shopping lists as well as your email lists for the holiday season, keep your recipient’s interests in mind. As with gifts, customizing your email campaigns with ISP and customers preferences in mind can result in better results. By now you’ve learned how to build a solid contact list and which goals to set before sending a campaign. This week, we’ll review a few points to safely land your email and win the inbox.

One key word: Deliverability

As an email sender and recipient, you might think that spam is a thing of the past, thanks to regulations and efficient “direct-to-spambox” algorithms. Though, despite all of the work ISPs and webmail clients put into building strong anti-spam filters, spam is still a very real issue. To better understand why this is the case, you first have to understand a key term: deliverability. Deliverability is the measurement or rate of emails that successfully reach the inbox as intended. According Return Path’s last Inbox Placement Benchmark Report, roughly 18% of legitimate commercial emails never see the inbox. Either they hit the spam folder or, worse, they are reported “missing”.
Why are so many legitimate emails being labeled as spam? The late 90s saw a rise in spam, which resulted in ISPs and webmail clients teaming up to build stronger anti-spam filters. While the number of real spam hitting your inbox has declined, on the flipside, these filters are so efficient that legitimate emails are often being categorized as spam too.
As you send greater volumes of email over the holiday season, you will either be messaging more customers, messaging more frequently, or both. Following deliverability best practices will therefore become more important than ever. As a result of your changed sending, a few things might happen: customers can become disengaged and mark your emails as spam or you might message old customers that are no longer actively opening your emails. These responses can have a negative impact on your sender reputation. Here are a few simple tricks to keep in mind to ensure an optimal deliverability.
Spam- The Gift That No One Wants

Prepare the runway before taking off

Before you start ramping up your holiday promotion emails, you’ll want to be sure your emails are “authentic”. Work with your tech team to make sure you have all of the basic settings that help ISPs and webmail clients recognize you as a reputable sender. Setting up validation systems such as SPF and DKIM will help validate your legitimacy as a sender in the “eyes” of ISPs and will reduce the number of emails that go missing or are mislabeled as spam.
Also, be sure to do a thorough clean of your contact list, if you aren’t already. Use a re-engagement campaign to filter out all inactive email addresses and also be sure all bounced and unsubscribed email addresses no longer show on your contact list. Remember, all email campaigns should always have a clear and direct unsubscribe button or link somewhere in the body. These simple steps can go a long way. They will show ISPs and your customers that you are serious about building a strong customer-brand relationship. In return, you will be rewarded with a high deliverability rate and high sender score.

Send presents and offers, not spam!

After setting up your account, it’s time to focus on the content of your email. If you don’t want to be considered as a spammer, don’t act like one – but it is helpful think like one! Learn how algorithms identify spammers and avoid these practices.
Most importantly, your customers should be able to instantly recognize you as the sender of each email communication. Clearly display your company name in the sender name or email address.
Avoid common spam vocabulary in your subject line: caps lock, usage of words like “URGENT”, “FREE”, or anything related industries that phishers and spammers like to endorse (luxury, medication, money transfer…)
Also, be sure to keep responsiveness in mind. Create different versions of your emails; HTML and plain text, to ensure a version of your email will show up even if a browser cannot display HTML.
Have a good picture to text ratio (20% pictures and 80% text should be OK) in the body of your emails: emails made of only pictures were an old spammer practice, it helped them hide their messages since anti-spam filters searched for keywords written in text. Since then, ISPs and webmail clients will flag emails with too many pictures.
Above all, it’s all about putting your customers first. Put yourself in your customers shoes – what kind of presents (or content) would they be happy to open? When customers are engaged, KPIs will be higher, they’re more likely to add you to their address book and treat you like a friend. Not only will they trust you, but ISPs are more likely to trust you as well.
With these tips in mind, you should be off to a good start!. If you’re looking to dig deeper and become a deliverability pro, check out our white paper with 34 tips that will increase your deliverability.
Tune in next week for more on winning the inbox this holiday season!

 

Want to define your email strategy to win customers over this holiday season? Check out Mailjet’s Ultimate Guide To Holiday Emailing.

Holiday Emailing Guide