By: Kelly Sosnowski, Chief of Staff, Product & Engineering, Valassis Digital
Published Monday, Mar 27, 2017
Email is a prevalent marketing tool, and one that is easy to use, giving marketers the ability to send messages almost instantly. But best practices must be followed to help ensure effectiveness of this medium within the consumer digital set.
There are two types of email: Loyalty and Acquisition. Loyalty email, is an opt-in email list for which the consumer signs up to explicitly receive marketing messages from a given company. This is by far the most popular type of email. As an example: when you sign up to get an email from Macy’s, you become part of their loyalty email list and will likely receive offers and communication related to their sales, etc.
Acquisition email is an excellent option when trying to attract new customers. The key point here is simply to remember the goal of this medium is to acquire new customers (don’t forget, they aren’t your customer just yet!). In this case, marketers should send a more attractive (higher value) offer to help convert consumers to customers. To do this, the marketer has to take additional steps in order to follow best practices for acquisition email which are set forth through knowledge of how delivery works with Internet Service Providers (ISPs), as well as through compliance with federal law. The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, signed into law by George W. Bush, sets forth standards in sending commercial email. Penalties are steep for non-compliance. For this reason, measures must be taken to ensure compliance and deliverability.
Deliverability is critical and is managed through the ISPs and other governing bodies. When emails arrive in an inbox, the ISPs monitor the activity. They are checking to see whether these emails are being opened, deleted, marked as spam and so on. It is this activity that determines the deliverability of the campaign. For example, if an email comes through and the user marks it as “spam,” the rest of the campaign can be delivered only to the user’s spam inbox, and will likely be unseen. This also impacts the health of the domain that these emails are sent on, and may impact the deliverability of future campaigns on those domains.
So, what might make a user click the “spam” button? Well, let’s say a marketer sends an email with a single image creative and it doesn’t render (aka: the user cannot see the image). Instead of hitting delete (which isn’t good either), they may hit the “spam” button. This is just one example of a situation where the user may choose to mark the mail as “spam.”
In addition to hitting the spam button, email can end up in a spam inbox because the ISP puts it there. Many ISPs, such as Google, understand the behavior and activity of what goes in your inbox and the types of mail you interact with. As an example, if you typically receive emails from clothing retailers, then similar emails will automatically come into your inbox when sent via the acquisition route.
If, however, an email comes through about – let’s say, guns – it will likely end up in your spam inbox. Why? Because you don’t have a history of interacting with emails on guns and Google wants your email experience to be a good one, so they help filter out those that may not be of interest. As a marketer you want to be sure you are setting your email up to be seen – another reason why following best practices is key!
What’s really critical here is to understand that there are many things out of a marketer’s control, especially with acquisition email, so it’s essential to set the campaign up for the greatest success possible. Following best practices and knowing the rules will help ensure optimal delivery – and hopefully new customers!