Six email deliverability best practices to implement ahead of the holiday season

With the holiday season almost upon us, customers are already on the lookout for the best offers and promotions from their favourite brands. Toshi Onishi looks at what that means for marketers ramping up to grow their database and acquire new customers. 

Amazing deals and incentives are crucial to entice customers during the festive period. However, it’s even more critical to ensure that your holiday emails make it to the customer’s inbox and not in junk. But how do you stay away from spam traps? How do you improve and maximise deliverability during the busiest sale season of the year? 

Here are six best practices that you can implement to gain maximum visibility and spread the festive cheer. 

Permissions and preference centres

Keep every customer relationship in the honeymoon period by tailoring your campaigns to their preferences. Effective communication helps keep unsubscribes and complaint rates at a minimum building long-term brand resonance. For example, a customer who has selected to receive recommendations is likely to respond positively to campaigns that use order insight to push relevant products.

Welcome programs

The humble welcome email goes a long way to nurturing good deliverability. More than a transactional message, a welcome campaign lets you set customer expectations. It introduces your email program and collects more data to create relevant campaigns. Use your welcome email to get subscribers used to having you in their inbox. It will let them know they can expect to hear from you and sets the tone for a successful, long-lasting relationship.

Honesty and transparency

Responsible marketing is based on transparency. While your day-to-day energies go into creating top-notch emails, it’s crucial to be transparent with customers about the data you’re collecting. It’s informing them where it will be used and safely stored. Each email you send should contain a link to your privacy policy and an unsubscribe link. 

Optimise your sender reputation

While it may seem like a minefield, the pathway to good deliverability is relatively straightforward if you follow the appropriate procedures. The key is to establish compliant foundations under the guidance of your Email Service Provider (ESP). Also performing regular, thorough checks on your reputation. In the world of email, there are a set of specific metrics relating to your sending practice that make up your overall reputation. 

Senders who achieve a good reputation enjoy more un-barred access to the inbox. This creates better returns on their email marketing. Combining a good sender reputation with excellent infrastructure will help in achieving optimum deliverability.  Good sender reputation opens the door to even better revenue. 

Data hygiene and spam trap avoidance

Keeping a clean list is the best way to avoid spam traps and keep bounce rates low, leading to a glowing sender reputation. Many purchased and rented lists are peppered with spam traps and invalid addresses. A regularly implemented win-back campaign can help identify unengaged contacts who may pose a risk to your reputation.

Campaign creation checklist

We all know how daunting it can be to send a campaign. Lastly, to avoid any last-minute hesitation over the send button, keep this checklist at hand:

  • customers have agreed to receive this kind of email from you
  • the email contains relevant content that your customers want to engage with
  • the email is a positive reflection of your brand and its personality, and
  • customers can easily open and access the email across devices.

Complex, challenging and costly – three words no marketer likes to hear. Managing your business infrastructure can require time and resources, especially when you send a high volume of emails. 

A dedicated in-house team who specialise in deliverability best practice might suit marketers. But for the majority, working in small teams focused on creative strategy, turning to their best-of-breed ESP for support is the best way to make it to the inbox. Establishing these simple best practice essentials makes all the difference. You’re a sure win when it comes to keeping your holiday shoppers engaged and loyal.

Toshi Onishi is the Senior Deliverability Analyst at dotdigital.

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