If I were to ask every email marketing professional their top headache-inducing challenge, I’m willing to bet it would have something to do with email deliverability. You need a strong sender reputation to reach your customers in the inbox, which is now more complicated than before.
Two things are key for ensuring your emails make it to your customers’ inbox: customer engagement and a clean email list.
Regular list hygiene with email validation is important, and a huge first step to avoiding spam traps, blacklists and hard bounces. But making into the inbox is also about engaging and delighting subscribers with personalized, relevant content.
That’s because ISPs have moved toward engagement-based filtering, which uses subscriber behavior to determine how and where email should be delivered. Now,accessing and analyzing email and subscriber data is even more essential to helping senders improve deliverability.
Engagement-based filtering means deliverability is becoming much more personalized. In addition to sender reputations, ISPs can evaluate subscriber behavior and engagement rates to determine inbox placement. By examining data around open rates, address books and replies, ISPs can evaluate subscriber interest in the content and decide to deliver only emails the subscriber has shown interest in.
Plus, as customer data grows in volume, so does the need for regular email list hygiene. A clean email list ensures you’re targeting contacts who actually want to receive your content. This leads to better engagement rates and email activity metrics, which signals to ISPs that your emails belong in recipients’ inboxes (not their spam folders).
Here are a few tactics to use your data and clean your list to improve deliverability.
1. Validate Your Contacts
Invalid or fraudulent email addresses can hinder deliverability by causing more emails to bounce or end up in spam folders. By taking a closer look at your email data with email validation services, you can identify the good eggs from the bad, and markedly improve the quality of your email list. Email validation can remove toxic emails from your contact list, which can improve overall email performance with higher open rates and clickthroughs. Email validation services clean lists by identifying spam traps, incorrect email formats, misspellings and invalid email domains.
2. Keep Your List Fresh and Up-to-Date
Regularly scrubbing your contact list to remove inactive subscribers can also improve deliverability. Inactive contacts who haven’t opened your emails in several months are essentially dead weight, dragging down email performance and clouding true insight around how active contacts are engaging with your content.
But before you ditch your quiet contacts, launch a reactivation campaign with a series of personalized emails promoting a new offer or message to reactivate these contacts into engaged subscribers. In some cases, these email addresses will be inactive. In other cases, your subscribers may simply be waiting for the right opportunity to re-engage.
3. Get a Benchmark for Email Engagement
Once you have a list of valid, active contacts, run a series of tests to get a benchmark for your engagement metrics. With a solid understanding of which types of emails keep your contacts engaged and interacting with your content, you can continue to deliver the most effective email campaigns that can be delivered successfully.
You can easily test subject lines, frequency and time of day to optimize open rates. Take your testing even further by experimenting with list segmentation and email content to enhance click-throughs and conversions.
If you’re still facing the deliverability headache, you’re not alone. Increasing engagement is an ongoing effort that requires enticing offers and irresistible content based on the right data. By making regular list hygiene part of your routine, you can help improve deliverability fast. Plus, by knowing more about your customer, you can improve your engagement strategy and overall sender reputation.
4. Know Your Contacts
Customer data is a valuable tool. It can tell you when the best time to send an email is, which links get the most clicks, on what device people open your emails and more. While using this data can certainly help you create better email campaigns and improve your sender reputation, real-time customer data can give you the information you need to reach your customers at the right moment with the right messages.
The right information at the right time equals a more engaged subscriber base, and a more engaged subscriber base helps your sender reputation and deliverability.